fur S JfeatiKr
FUR FEATHER IN NORTH CHINA
TIENTSIN PRESS, LTD.,
Printers aud Publishers ~
33, Victoria Road, Tientsin, North China'
FUR AND FEATHER
IN NORTH CHINA,
Arthur de Carle Sowerfey,: h.Pv.G.S.
Author of " Sport and Science on the Sino-Mongolian Frontier "
and joint author with Robert Sterling Clark of
With 30 line drawings by the author and 43 photographs.
' There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar.
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet can not all conceal."
THE TIENTSIN PRESS, LIMITED, Victoria Road, Tientsin, North China.
To my wife.
All rights reserved*
WHEN the papers, which go to make up this book, were first con-
templated, it was proposed that they should deal purely with sport.
It was felt, however, that there was a very distinct need for some
popular work not merely on game birds and animals, but on the whole,
or as much as possible, of the North China fauna. Consequently, it was
decided to endeavour to meet, if only in a small measure, this need.
The resulting papers, penned sometimes in town, sometimes even
on the road, but always with a sad lack of reference works, can not
claim to do justice to the great subject. It is hoped, however, that
they will serve their purpose until some more detailed and classic
work is produced.
One of the chief aims I have had in mind while writing thus on
the birds and animals of North China, has been the rousing of public
interest in the subject, with a view to the ultimate protection and
preservation of many species, which under existing conditions are
doomed to extinction. Another object has been to share with those
who can not get away into the wilds to see for themselves and to taste
first hand of Nature's rich store, some of my own experiences with
that sweet Mistress and her many children.
It has proved an untold pleasure to me to write these papers, for
my mind has been carried back to many a happy day, in field and
forest, amid surroundings never so appreciated as in the perspective of
time. It has also been a source of education for I have come across new
facts, and have been introduced to many species hitherto unknown
to me, as I have delved into the riches of by-gone writers in search
>f the correct names for those that I did know.
The mere facfc of rny having written these papers has put ma
into communication with fellow lovers of nature, and has given me
access to standard works, so that I have been able to correctly identify
most of the species mentioned. I am deeply indebted to Mr. J. D.
de La Touche, C.M.Z.S., M.B.O.U., who very kindly allowed me to
go over his wonderful collection of Chinese Birds, than which none
more complete exist, except that in the British Museum. I am also
indebted .to Mr. Oldfield Thomas, F.E.S., F.Z.S., of the British
Museum, and to Dr. Gerrit S. Miller, of the Smithsonian Institution,
for assistance in the identification of many new mammals of North
China, while Dr. Morrison, by allowing me access to his magnificent
library, enabled me to further identify and verify the names of many
of the old ones. The following gentlemen very kindly supplied me
with photographs, without which the illustrations would have been
far from complete Dr. P. H. At wood; Mr. Malcolm P. Anderson,
Captain T. Holcomb and Mr. W. A. Mace. To all these kind friends
I wish to convey my heartiest thanks.
ARTHUR DE C. SOWERBY.
Tientsin, North China, July, 1914.
The Musk Deerr (Mopchus stibiricus) 11
The Sika (Cervus hortulorum) ...... 13
Wild Sheep 16
The Muskshrew (Cwcidura coreae) 57
The Mole (Scaptochirus gilliesi) 58
The Ordos Jerbot (Dipus sowerbyi) 66
The Woodmouse (Apodemus speciosus) ..... 71
The Molerat (MyospaJax fontanieri) 73
The Flying Squirrel (Sciuropterus buechneri) .... 75
The Chipmunk (Eutamias asiaticus senexcens) ... 77
The Suslik (Citellus mongolicuti) 79
The Pika (Ochotona bedfordi) 80
The Bustard (Otis dybowskii) . . . . 109
The Butcher Bird (Lanius superoiliosus) .... 187
The Avocet (Recurvirofttra, avocetta) .... . 148
The Hcw>poe (Upupa epops) . . . .... 154
The Pmtailed Sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus) . . . 157
The Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) ..... 158
Head of Poisonous Snake (Viper) . . . . . 163
Head of Non-Poisonous Snake (Watersnake) . . . ,,
The Terrapin (Clemmys japomica) ...... 166
liadde's Toad (Bufo raddei) 171
The Serpent-Head (Ophiooephalus argus) .... 172
The Chinese Perch (Siniperca chua-tsi) . . . . ,,
The Wels (SiluTUS asotis) 175
Elopicthys dauricujs 176
The Bream ; . . . 177
The Bleak ....,,
The Culter ........,,,
The Loach (Cobitis tinia) ....... 178
Satfanx chinensis, a small transparent smelt-like fish occuring
in the Chihli Estuaries . , . ... * . . ^,
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
HALE TONE PLATES.
Frontispiece. At Work in the Country.
I Dr. P, H. Atwood and bag .... 2
II After Pig, Camp in the mountains of West Shansi 6
E. H. Cartwright and the Author with record
wild boar (333 Ibs. (Bus moupinensis) ,,
III A morning and evening's bag in Shensi . 8
IV The author and the late Mr. G. A. Grant with
bag of roe, hare and pheasants in Shensi . 14
North Shensi Boeder (Capreolus bedfordi) . , v
V The Wild Sheep of North Shansi (Ovis jubata) , 18
The author with his best Bam . . . ,,
VI The North Shansi Wapiti. Captain T. Hoi-
comb and his twelve-pointer ... 26
VII The North Shansi Wapiti. Captain T. Hoi-
comb and, a six-pointer .... 30
North China Goral (Urotragus caudatus) . . ,,
VIII Mongol Hunter and; Goral shot by Captain T.
Holcomb in North Shansi .... 34
IX The Mongolian Gazelle (GazeWa gutturosa) . 40
The author and his first buck.
F. W. Warrington and his best antelope . ,,
X The Manchurian Tiger (Felis tigris longipilis) . 46
XI The Leopard (Felis pardus villosa) ... 48
XM The Fox (Vulpes vulpes) .... 50
XIII The Kansu Polecat (Mustela larvata) . . 54
North Sharisi Hares (Lepus swinhoei sowerbyae) , t
W.ATB Facing Page
XIV Equipped for hunting harea on horseback . 60
XV Eats and Mice 70
XVI The Kansu Allactaga (Allactaga mongolica
The Buzzard (Buteo hemilasius) . . . ,,
XVII The Golden 'Eagle (Aquila chrysaetus) . ~~T 86
XVIII The Chinese Pheasant (Phasianus kiangsuensis) 90
The Shansi Pheasant (Phasianus sp.)
XIX F. W. Warrington and a Manchurian Eared-
pheasant. Shot near Tai-yuan Fu, Shansi . 94
XX The Bearded Partridge (Perdix 'daurica) . 98
The Chukar (Caccabis chukar)
XXI The Manchurian Eared-Pheasant (Cwssoptilon
mantchuricum) ...... 102
The Baikal or Spectacled Teal (Querquedula
- .* formosa)
XXII The Bean Goose (Anser segetum) . . . H2
The Bean Goose. A seven pounder
XXIII Wild Ducks on the Si-an Fu Plain, Shensi . 118
XXIV The Common Teal (Querquedula crecca) . 120
XXV A Bag of Snipe 126
XXVI The Coot, (Fulica atra) ....... 128
The Common Snipe (Gallinago media) .
XXVII The Ibis billed Curlew (Ibidorhynchus< strutherai) 144
The Curlew (Numenius arguatus)
XXVIII A pair of Green Water-snakes (Tropidonotua
The Chinese Mud-Turtle (Trionyx 'sinensis)
I The .Wild Boar 1
II Eoe, Musk and Sika 7
III .Wild Sheep 15
IV Wapiti Hunting 25
V The Goral 33
VI Antelope Shooting in Mongolia 39
VII Fur-Bearing Mammals 45
VIII Insectivorous Mammals 53
IX The Hare 60
X Rats and Mice . . . . . . . 65
XI Squirrels, Marmots and Pikas 74
XII The Golden Eagle 83
XIII Pheasant Shooting 89
XIV Partridges 97
XV The Quail 102
XVI The Bustard . . 105
XVII Wild Geese Ill
XVIII Wild Ducks . . 117
XIX Snipe 123
XX The Perching Birds 130
XXI The Wading Birds of North China 144
XXII. Miscellaneous Birds ...... 151
XXIII The Reptiles of North China, Manchuria and Mongolia 161
XXIV Frogs, Toads and some Fresh-Water Fish . . .168
THE WILD BOAR.
THE wild boar is undoubtedly the gamesti lof all wild creatures, and
amongst those who have experienced it, pig sticking is admittedly
the finest sport in existence.
The habitat of the pig, not including the various tropical species,
such as the wart-hog, the bush-pig and the peccary, extends from
Spain to Kamschatka, and from Siberia to Ceylon. Naturally in all
Page 49, line 22 for "early" read "nearly."
Page 70, lines 29 and 36, Plate XV, Page 71 lines 9, 10, 12 and 15, for
"Epymis" read "Epimys."
Plate XVI for "Allactaga" read "Alactaga."
Plate XXI for " manchuricunn" read "mantchuricum."
Page 121, line 17 for "Cidemia" read "Oidemia."
Plate XXVII for "arquatus" read "arguatus."
Pages 175 and 189 for "asaotia" read "asotis."
Page 175 "Elopiacthys" read "Elopicthys."
Page 176, line 32 for "canaasius" read "carassius."
incnes ill m^CKness. .Lire- ucrcrjr --j.iii/tijuj.^inc'j..tTO > vx. **. .. ,
the native who shot the animal stated that he took 200 catties of flesh
from it. A very conservative estimate of the weight of this pig, based
upon the above statement would bring its total weight up to 300 catties
or 400 Ibs.
Next to this record come the measurements of an old tusker shot
by the author. In this specimen the left tusk measures 9| inches in
length and 1-| inches in thickness. The weight of this pig was found
to be about 330 Ibs.
s ' 1
I The Wild Boar .
II Eoe, Musk and Sika .
III Wild Sheep
IV Wapiti Hunting
V The Goral .
XX The Perching Birds .
XXI The Wading Birds of North China.
XXII. Miscellaneous Birds
XXIII The Kepfciles of North China, Manchuria and Mongolia 161
XXIV Frogs, Toads and some Fresh-Water Fish . . .168
THE WILD BOAR.
THE wild boar is undoubtedly the gamesti-iof all wild creatures, and
amongst those who have experienced it, pig sticking is admittedly
the finest sport in existence.
The habitat of the pig, not including the various tropical species,
such as the wart-hog, the bush-pig and the peccary, extends from
Spain to Kamschatka, and from Siberia to Ceylon. Naturally in all
this tremendous area numerous varieties occur, which have been made
into distinct species by naturalists. Thus there is 8 us scrofa of
Europe, 8. cristata of India, S. amurensis of the Amour, S. nigripes of
Sungaria and 8. moupinensis of Thibet, all differing but slightly from
one another, yet differing sufficiently to warrant separation according
to the present day system of classification.
In China Pere Heude has described a number of species from
various parts, but, as the diagnoses were very unsatisfactory, it has
been found impossible to decide exactly how many valid species really
The North China pigs seem to have somewhat larger tusks than
those of the Yang-tze, but do not attain so large a size as the latter.
Hitherto the record tusk measurements for North China pigs are
those of a specimen in the possession of Mr. K. T. McCoy. The best
tusk of this magnificent boar measures 10 inches in length, and 1
inches in thickness. The body measurements were not taken, but
the native who shot th< animal stated that he took 200 catties of flesh
from it. A very conservative estimate of the weight of this pig, based
upon the above statement would bring its total weight up to 300 catties
or 400 Ibs.
Next to this record come the measurements of an old tusker shot
by the author. In this specimen the left tusk measures 9 inches in
length and 1| inches in thickness. The weight of this pig was found
to be about 330 Ibs.
a ' 1
THE WILD BOAR.
;. f :/;Ojfc3^y'*gbbd WgasuFements ar 8i inches in length and 1 inch
in thickness, and 8 inches in length and 1 inch in thickness, being those
of tusks of pigs shot by Mr. J. Holmeberg and Dr. P. H. Atwood
Professor E. T. Nystrom, formerly of Tai-yuan Fu Imperial Uni-
versity, records having shot a boar which measured 7 feet from the tip
of the nose to the tip of the tail.
.The record Indian tusks measurement is 14f inches; the record
European one 13 inches. The largest, pigs are found in the Caucasis,
where specimens weighing as much as 600 Ibs. have been recorded.
The record height belongs to India, where a fine old tusker was
killed, which measured 40 inches at the shoulder.
In China, as elsewhere, the wild boar commits terrible depreda-
tions upon the crops of the country folk. It is nothing to see a field
of peas or potatoes comipletely devastated by a sounder of wild swine in
some of the more mountainous regions. The natives have great trouble
in guarding their crops, as the pigs soon learn not to fear the primitive
guns in vogue in these remote districts.
The wild pig is very prolific, old sows producing as many as fifteen
young in a litter. The mother builds a nest of hazel stems, carefully
laid over a deep hollow. Here she produces her brood, the young
remaining in this shelter for some days after they are born. After
leaving the nest they stay with the old sow for about six months, by
which time they are half grown and thoroughly capable of caring for
In winter the coat is long and very bristly, with a thick woolly
under fur. In summer this is dropped, and in the autumn a new soft
coat appears, which grows very rapidly into the bristly winter covering.
In Shansi during the last few years the wild pig has been greatly
on the increase. This winter (1913-14), however, an epidemic has
spread through the country, killing off whole sounders at a time. The
natives of the districts have, of course, taken full advantage of this
bountiful supply of meat, and a good many pigs, which have died thus
have found their way into the game markets of Tientsin. A similar
epidemic occurred some years ago, absolutely depleting certain sections
of country of their stocks of wild swine. These epidemics da more to
keep down game than a good deal of shooting, but that is no excuse
for the wholesale and indiscriminate slaughter that sometimes goes on.
Of the habits of the pig there is very little to say. In North China
they seem to prefer well forested areas, or at least districts where
there is ample cover. They are particularly fond of woods and copses
THE WILD BOAR. 3
of scrub-oak. They also favour sunny slopes, well protected with
pines arid spruce, where in winter they may lie up during the day.
In summer they resort to watery ravine bottoms for their daily siestas.
They feed at night, coming out of their layers late in the evening and
usually returning before daylight.
The wild boar is to be found only in the more mountainous parts
where it can find plenty of cover. Such country exists in the
north of Chili -li, north and west of Shansi and in many places over
Shensi, right out through Kansu to the Thibetan border. As a rule
wherever the wild pig exists at all it is very plentiful, but its noctur-
nal habits make it difficult to meet. However, by gaining a know-
ledge of the habits of the animal and the sort of cover that it prefers,
it becomes possible to search it out during the day.
By far the best thing to do after reaching the hunting ground is
to explore the country side for pig wallows. These can not be mis-
taken when found, being hollows, often six or seven feet long by
three wide, the edges of which rise several inches and sometimes a
foot above the surrounding ground. When the earth in these looks
newly thrown up then the hunter can rest assured that the pig is not
far off, and he should visit the place each day making as little noise
as possible so as to get near to his quarry before it takes alarm.
Otherwise the pig will hear him long before he is near and will slip
quietly away to find shelter elsewhere.
Once having sighted a pig it needs only accurate shooting, good
legs and lungs, and an obstinacy equal to that of the animal itself to
finally bring it down.
That a pig, though severely wounded, will often lead the hunter
on a long, tiring chase can be gathered from the following experience.
Early in January of 1910 I was hunting in seme magnificent moun-
tains about a hundred miles north-west of Tai-yuan Fu in Shansi, and
bad been following the trail of a wounded tusker all one morning. This
pig had been shot two days previously by a native hunter, and on the
evening of the day before had run into my boy while he was setting
traps in a small ravine. The boy being unarmed, the pig made good its
escape into a dense forest. As I have already said we followed the
tracks all the next morning, but finally lost them in a dry and stony
ravine, nor could we pick them up again. Accompanied by a native
hunter I was searching for the lost trail, when we ran acrossi a fresher
but smaller track. This we followed and it lead us through a beauti-
ful pine forest, over the top of a ridge and down into some dense
thorn bushes on the other side. As we entered the latter there was a
4 THE WILD BOAE.
rustling of bushes ahead of us followed by a dead silence. Just
as I was about to start down hill the hunter clutched my sleeve and
pointed across the ravine, and there some 200 yards away was a fine
pig hurrying up the bare hillside. I was somewhat out of breath with
my recent climbing buti there was no time to be lost and I took aim
and fired. The hunter declared that the pig was hit, but except for
a slight, diminishing in his speed, I could see no sign to prove that
my bullet had found its mark. Next moment the pig had reached
the top of the ridge and disappeared. We rushed down the hillside
regardless of thorns, and torn clothes, and climbed the opposite slope.
On reaching the top two spots of blood on a rock told us that the pig
Then began a long and arduous chase. Following the trail with
difficulty we skirted round the head of one ravine, crossed a ridge at
the top and descended into a wood where the pig was once more put
up. With an angry grunt it broke away down hill, and again we saw
it climbing the opposite slope. This time we could see a dull red
patch on the flank. I tried some more shots and had the satisfaction
of seeing the pig fall and lie kicking. We thought the chase was end-
ed, but had reckoned without our quarry. The pig suddenly scram-
bled to its feet once more and continued up hill till it again crossed
the top and vanished. This ascent was worse than the last one and must
have been some four or five hundred feet. At last we reached the top,
but found that the trail of our pig had got mixed up with several
other recent ones. I sent the hunter along one of the freshest and
chose another myself which led along the side of a ridge. Presently
there was a blotch of blood in one of the foot prints, and; I knew I' was
on the right scent. I hurried along through the pines and larches, and
presently became aware of my quarry standing amongst the trees some
twenty yards above me. I could see the evil look in its wicked little
eye, but, before it could make up its mind whether to charge or to seek
safety in flight, I had sent a bullet through its neck, just behind the
ear and it dropped. Even then it made desperate efforts to rise, so I
was obliged to send a revolver bullet into its heart. On examination
I found that the pig had been hit in the flank, had had the right leg
shattered and had got a ball lodged in the right fore foot, but in spite
of these wounds had led me a chase of some two miles over country
of the roughest and most difficult nature.
The following narrative is another example of fhe endurance of
these animals. It was in the same country asj that which I have
just mentioned. For some days there had been persistent reports of
a large sounder of wild swine lead by an enormous white boar.
THE WILD BOAR. 5
Several people declared to me that they had seen the herd, and they
one and all described the leader as being perfectly white and as
large as a cow. I searched in vain for this sounder, till one day,
after a long and fruitless hunt in some wild and heavily timbered
mountains to the north, I was passing through a little- village on my
way back to camp, where my wife awaited me with a nice supper of
grilled venison. The natives told me that the sounder I had been
seeking in the forests of the high mountains had just passed the village,
and one young man offered to lead me in the direction the pigs had
gone. All thought of supper vanished, and with renewed energy we
set off over some low hills. After about half an hour's climb seven
or eight pigs were sighted feeding in a field on the other side of a wooded
ravine. None of these answered to the description of the big white
leader, but as daylight -was rapidly failing I decided to try my luck
with a long shot atone of the pigs we could see. Accordingly I made
my men hide behind some bushes, while I advanced towards the
sounder to get within range. I had not gone far when suddenly
from behind a rock there emerged what appeared to me to be the
largest pig I had ever seen. It looked perfectly white and seemed
to my startled imagination to be more the size of an elephant than
a cow. It advanced towards me with majestic tread sniffing the air
for danger as it came, and behind it crowded several smaller pigs.
I advanced more cautiously till suddenly the pig caught sight of me
and halted. It was now or never, and, although the range was rather
long for my Winchester, I tried a shot. My first bullet struck too
high, causing the huge brute to jump round, where it stood undecided.
The second shot hit it in the flank, causing it to tear away at a
breakneck speed. I fired several shots at it as it ran, managing
to hit it in the shoulder just before it disappeared over the top of the
hill. Summoning all my remaining strength, I followed at the best
speed I could command, and was rewarded on gaining the top of the
hill by seeing my quarry not more than a hundred yards away, walk-
ing along a path that lead round the top of a ravine. I was just able
to take rapid aim and fire as it rounded a shoulder of rock. It did
not reappear, and hurrying along, the path I was delighted to find that
the last shot had proved fatal and the huge animal lay dead at the bot-
tom of a small water course. Half an hour later it was pitch dark and we
had our work cut out to get the day's bag home. It was not white
but very light grey, -and its measurements exceeded those of any pig I
have yet seen, being six feet three inches from the tip of the snout
to the tip of the tail, and two feet eight inches at the should-
der. It, weighed three hundred and ten pounds which was ten pounds
6 THE WILD BOAR.
lighter than an old tusker I killed the previous autumn near Yen-an Fu
in Shensi. This latter animal gave me a good run requiring four bullets
to finish it.
It will be gathered from these two narratives that the mountainous
nature of the country in which they live renders impossible any other
method of hunting these pigs than by shooting them. The method
employed in India and elsewhere of running down and spearing the
wild boar would be quite out of the question in North China.
Pig. hunting with the aid of the rifle is naturally a far less danger-
ous sport than when the spear is used. Nevertheless one can have some
On one occasion accompanied by two natives I succeeded in driv-
ing some seven or eight pigs out of a dense pine wood at the top of
a wide valley. The pigs ran down the side of the valley and took
shelter in a clump of stunted oaks. Sending the natives up above
them to drive them out I waited below. The men missed their
bearings and came upon the pigs in such a manner as to cause the
whole herd to break cover and come thundering like a troup of cavalry
straight towards me. Fortunately, however, they swerved to right and
left when within a few yards of me, and I managed to hit one as it
rushed past. The wounded animal broke away from the rest of the
sounder, and tried to cross the valley, so that I was able to knock it over
as it was climbing the opposite slope.
Winter is undoubtedly the season for pig hunting as the chase
is altogether too arduous for the hot weather, while the foliage of the
summer and autumn increases the difficulty of finding the quarry, and
of keeping it in sight when put up. Few of the residents of North
China can spare the time required to hunt the wild boar, as it often
takes a week or more to locate the game after one has reached the
hunting ground, but once having gleaned the necessary knowledge of
the country one can enjoy good shooting. I once managed to get three
pigs in four days, and on another occasion bagged a fine tusker and
two roedeer in twelve hours. My companion on that occasion also shot
CAMP IN THE MOUNTAINS OF WEST SHAN SI
E. H. CARTWRIGHT AND THE AUTHOR WITH
RECORD WILD BOAR (333 LBS.) (Sus moup'mensis).
KOE, MUSK AND SlKA.
OF all forms of sport there are few that can excel t'ha/t of deer
stalking. In none are the patience, quickness of eye and wits and
the endurance of the hunter more severely tested.
In North China there are several species of deer, but by far the
commonest, and the only one easily accessible to Europeans resident
in the Treaty Ports is the roe. This little deer is well beloved by
local sportsmen, for it affords them their chance of indulging in a
sport, which in most countries only the wealthy and leisured classes
Not only is the roe a shy and timid creature but it is gifted with
the most delicate organs of hearing and scent; while its sight is
also remarkably keen. Its speed excels that of any other denizen
of the mountains, and its protective colouring renders it very hard to
detect. In winter the roedeer assumes a yellowish-grey pelt that
harmonises and blends perfectly with the leafless bushes and withered
grass; while in summer this coat is exchanged for one of a bright
rufous colour, which in turn so exactly resembles the moistened patches
of bare loess, that the hunter often fails to detect his quarry, though
it be in full view.
A point in favour of the hunter is the excessive curiosity of the
roe, which makes it desirous of ascertaining the cause of any un-
usual sound or sight, instead of seeking safety in flight. I have
known, a whole herd stand and gaze at the hunter, apparently
fascinated by the report of his rifle, and once when I was hidden
in some bushes on the fringe of a forest clearing, several roedeer,
that, I had startled by the rustling of the leaves and twigs, approached
to within easy range of my rifle in their endeavour to find out the cause
of the noise.
Another advantage that the roe inadvertantly gives the hunter is
by barking, but usually when a roe barks it means that the stalk has
been discovered, and before long the deer will be well out of harm's
way. Moreover it never betrays its presence thus except when it
is under cover of some friendly wood.
In North 1 Shansi, on the edge of the Mongolian Plateau and in
Manchuria the native-hunters attract these deer by whistling with
8 BOB, MUSK AND SIKA.
a piece of grass held between the thumbs. The ensuing note resembles
very closely the shrill bleat of the young fawn in distress, hence its
attraction. This seems a cowardly advantage to take of the poor
Various methods may be adopted in hunting the roedeer, the
most sporting of which is plain stalking. In the mountainous and
forested country that this animal frequents there are numerous grassy
slopes between wood and wood, and it is these that the hunter should
haunt in search of his quarry. In the morning and evening the roe
leaves the shelter of the woodsi in search of food, and then it may
often be seen in droves of five or six quietly grazing on the rich luxur-
ious grass. It is then that the utmost resources of the hunter are
called into play, for he has to creep with infinite caution towards his
quarry, taking care to approach it up wind, and making the very
best use of such' slight cover as the tall grass and few stunted bushes
offer. With care it is even possible to approach feeding deer in the
open, without any cover; but in this case the greatest vigilance must
be kept upon their movements. The object, of the stalker is to
appear to be a rock or stump or some such inanimate object.
The deer must not see the slightest movement, so that advance can
only be made while the animal has it's head down in the grass. Each
time the deer's head goes up all movement must instantly cease till
it goes down agiain. As a feeding deer raises its head to look round
every few bites, the tediousness and fatigue of such a stalk can be
imagined; but when, having approached to within range, fired and
hit, the hunter looks down upon a nice pair of horns, he is amply
rewarded, and looks upon those weary anxious minutes in the light of
a great achievement. If by any chance during the stalk the quarry
is startled and begins to make off, unless the range is too great, it is
just as well to try a shot, as the report sometimes brings the fleeing)
animal to a standstill; while a misdirected bullet will often turn a
deer towards the hunter. If there is a herd and one buck is knocked
over, iti is often possible to secure a second, as the rest frequently
return to their wounded or dead companion. In this way I once
secured two nice bucks from a small drove of three, after a successful
stalk up the bare slope upon which they were feeding. The first buck,
hit through' the chest, came rolling down the slope. The other two
at first made off, but turned back and stared at the first. Even when
they saw me they only entered the sheltering wood a little way, where
they stood till I came upon them and accounted for the second buck.
As an example of roedeer stalking the following narrative may
BOE, MUSK AND SIKA. $
A party of us were travelling through Shensi, and had reached
a belt of wild country south of Yen-an Fu, where the once cultivated
terraces had gone back to wilderness. Here roedeer and small game
were extremely plentiful, while there were not wanting signs of wild
boar, wolves and even panthers. Already the members of the party
had had splendid sport, seven deer having been accounted for in two
days. On the third day two of us were riding behind the caravan,
which was winding along the top of a high ridge, when we saw a
roedeer quietly feeding in a deep valley on our left. As we would
soon be out of the wild country, and both wished to add another deer
to our bag, we decided to go after this one. Accordingly we turned
off the road, and tying our ponies in a thicket, we crept down a water
cut, keeping well out of sight of our quarry. Jimmy, my pointer, in-
sisted on following, and dutifully kept close at my heels. Without
much difficulty we reached the shoulder of a ridge," which we had to
cross. Now we had to exercise the utmost care, for the bare slope
was in full view of the deer. Good luck was with us, for during our
passage the deer did not raise its head once, and soon we dropped
silently down into the fall brush 1 of the valley. It was all I could do
with fiercely whispered injunctions to keep Jimmy from dashing off,
for he, too, had spotted the deer. Each step brought us nearer to our
quarry, which we glimpsed now and then through gaps in the under-
brush. Twice we found ourselves up to our armpits in deep snow
drifts. At last, after crossing a bare terrace flat upon our bellies, we
arrived' at a low hedge which' I had noted as being within twenty yards
of the deer, and I gave the sign to my companion to be ready. As
we cleared the sheltering scrub up bounided the deer from almost
under our feet. Bang ! bang ! went our rifles, and the buck sprang
into the air, turned a somersault and lay dead. On the instant an-
other buck broke cover, and again our rifles rang out. It staggered,
but recovered itself and was crashing away through the bushes when
Jimmy, unable to restrain himself another moment, sprang forward.
With a few bounds he overtook the wounded deer and springing for
its throat brought it down headlong in the snow.
A method of hunting the roedeer, which has been tried with great
success by one local sportsman in the forests of West Shansi, is that
adopted in the P'hdllipines and elsewhere where the jungle or forests
are too dense for open stalking. This is with the use of a flash lantern,
fastened in the cap or on the right wrist, so that the beam of light is
directed forward along the rifle barrel. This method can only be
used at night, when any deer within two hundred yards, looking to-
wards the light betrays its presence by the bright reflection from the
10 ROE, MUSK AND SIKA.
retinas of its eyes. The sights of the rifle are also lighted up so that
it is easy to take accurate aim. The bright light always has the
effect of arresting the quarry and rooting it to the spot, giving ample
time to take aim. In this way six or seven roedeer were bagged in
a few days.
Another method, which may be adopted in country where, owing
to deep snow, the going is bad and stalking impossible, is driving. In
company with three other local sportsmen, I enjoyed some very good
driving two years ago (Jan. 1912) in the Hsi-wan-tzu district east of
Kalgan. The process was simple. A likely looking wood would be
chosen, and each member of the party would be stationed at some
advantageous point outside. The beaters would then go round and
commence driving from the other side of the wood. Always a deer
or two would break cover and give one or other of us a chance of
bringing it down.
Up to the present two distinct species of roedeer have been describ-
ed from North China. The one found in Shansi, Shensi and Chihli
has been called Capre\olus bedfordi, having been described from a
specimen from West Shansi, as being slightly larger than the European
form. It also has much better horns, which increase in length in
the individuals as one works northward. The horns of the North
Shansi roedeer approach more nearly to the Thian Shan roe (C.
tianshanicus). One pair I measured were 17| inches in length', while
I have measured several that have been close on 1 foot, some a little
more, some less. The longest .West Shansi horn I have measured
was 10 inches. The record Thian Shan roehorn is 18| inches.
The other Chinese species is one discovered by the writer in
Kansu. It was named C. melanotis, being described as more reddish
than C. bedfordi in its summer coat, and having the outer surface of
the ear mostly of a clear black colour, which is not the case in C.
Thie largest species of roedeer is C. pygargus, which comes from
Siberia. The largest horns come from the Thian Shan.
Roedeer are common almost anywhere where there is a reason-
able amount of cover, and a small human population. They are
particularly plentiful in Shensi, North and West Shansi, and in some
of the wild country north of Peking. In Manchuria also they are very
The females often have two young. The males shed their horns
from November to December. The new growth commences in Febru-
ary, the velvet, is rubbed off by the end of May, the rutting season
commencing in August.
KOE, MUSK AND SIKA. 11
From September to November is the best time for roedeer hunting.
The horns are then in good condition, and the hair is not so liable
to drop as at other times. One can also enjoy the pleasure of hav-
ing a nicely roasted haunch or grilled steak for dinner. Earlier in the
summer, though the horns are good, the smell of the deer sets one
against eating the flesh. The meat should always be allowed to hang
for a few days, which of course is impossible in the warm weather.
THE MUSKDEER (Moschus sibiricus).
In many places, chiefly in 'heavily forested and mountainous coun-
try, where the roe is found the musk deer is also prevalent. It is a
pretty little creature, considerably smaller than the roe, has no horns,
but is armed with long tusks, which grow down, like those of the wal-
rus, from the upper jaw. These only occur in the male, which is
also slightly larger than the female. The tusks attain a length of
about 3 inches. At least four species of musk have been identified.
Two of these occur in the Himalayas and Sze-chuan, so that they
scarcely come under our heading. These are Moschus moschiferus
and M. chrysogastcr respectively. In Kansu and Eastern Thibet a
species called M. sifanicus occurs, while the Shansi and Chihli species
is known as M. sibiricus. The last is a very dark variety, having a
thick coat of a dark brown, with a fine cream-yellow irregular patch
on the throat. M. sifanicus is distinctly greyer in appearance the
brown hairs having a white ring towards tha tip.
12 ROE, MUSK AND SIKA.
The musk stands about 20 inches at the shoulder. The hoof is
proportionately much smaller and more pointed than in other deer,
while the two hinder nails or dew claws are proportionately much larger.
The ears are large; the tail short. The characteristic for which this
little deer is chiefly known, is the occurrence in the male of a little bag
in the skin of the abdomen, which contains the substance known as
musk. For this the musk deer is unmercifully persecuted and hunted,
for the substance is extremely valuable. A single pod, is worth from
$10 to $20 to the hunter, who sells it. to the medicine shops, where
it is made up into perfume and realizes twice the money paid to the
Just exactly what function this gland performs in the economy
of the musk deer seems uncertain. There is little or no smell in the
secretion when fresh, so that it can hardly be for the purpose of attract-
ing the females.
As a sport musk deer hunting is scarcely to be considered. So
persecuted is the little creature that it keeps to the densest cover,
from which it may only be driven with the greatest difficulty. It is
also becoming increasingly rare. The natives of this country hunt
the musk chiefly by driving, the same method being used as with
roedeer. When there is plenty of snow they also resort to tracking.
The Szechuan hunters use snares. A stout sapling is bent down over
a musk deer path, and a rope with a noose is attached to the tip.
[Ph ; e noose is then set in the path in such a way that the little creature
is almost sure to step into it. A trigger is loosed, the sapling flies
up, and the deer is jerked into the air, where it hangs till
the hunter comes and kills it. Often they hang thus for days before
merciful death frees them from their agonies. By far the greater
number of musk are taken this way. The method has the disadvan-
tage of killing off males and females indiscriminately, whereas your
true Shansi musk hunter would avoid shooting a doe. Some years
ago I reached a famous musk district in West Shansi, and found
the local hunters in a furious st^te of mind over the depredations of a
party of Szechuan hunters, who in a few weeks had secured some
seventy musk deer, mostly females, in their snares. Driven to ex-
asperation the Sbansi hunters had at last combined and sent the
Szechuanese about their business.
The musk like the water-deer of the Yang-tze Valley can be knock -
ed over easily with bird shot. The white ivory tusks of a good buck
make the head a nice trophy.
KOE, MUSK AND SIKA.
Another deer, which is to be found in certain restricted areas of
Chihli and Shansi is the Pekin sika (Cervus hortulorum), sometimes
known as the Pekin Stag. This is perhaps the handsomest deer in
North China, especially in the summer, when its rich red coat spotted
with white makes it a most elegant creature. It is a large deer, having
THE SIKA (Cervus hortulorum}.
very good horns, the record measurements of which are 2 feet 8
inc'hes in length. Usually there are eight points, though a ten pointer
has been recorded.
In MancEuria a very closely allied, though smaller species occurs,
under the name of C. manchuricus. Other species occur in Japan,
14 BOE, MUSK AND SIKA.
Formosa and along the Yang-tze Valley. The horns of these deer
conform to the elaphine type, but differ from those of the red deer
and wapiti in having no bez-tine.
The Pekin sika is of a dark grey-brown in the winter, the white
spots becoming almost invisible. A full grown stag stands about 4
feet at the shoulder. These deer are also greatly persecuted on account
of their horns, which when in velvet are worth more than those of any
other species. Manchurian sika horns have been known to fetch as
much as Tls. 200 and Tls. 300 per pair.
At present the Pekin sika is known to occur only in a few very
remote and inaccessible districts in North-eastern Chihli and in
Western Shansi. There used to be a good many in the Imperial
Hunting grounds near Jehol, but since the Manchu soldiers were
camped there a short time ago, the country seems to have been
cleaned out of all kinds of game including the beautiful Reeve's
It would not do to close a paper on North China deer without
mentioning the famous Ssu-pu-hsiang or David's deer (Elaphurus
davidianug). This remarkable deer was first discovered by Pere
Armand David in a semi-domesticated state in the Imperial Hunting
Park at Peking. This Park was thrown open in 1900 and all the
deer in it killed by the International troops. So far as the writer
can gather the elaphure has never been recorded in a wild state.
Some living specimens (doubtless taken from the Nanhai-tze in 1900)
have been exhibited in Europe and a few stuffed ones occur in the
South Kensington and Paris Museums. Where the species originally
came from is not known, nor does it seem likely that it will ever be
found in a wild state.
The Ssu-pu-hsiang stands about 4 feet, is of a light yellow-fawn
colour and has a long tail like that of an ox. The nose too, is pointed
anct more like that of a sheep than a deer. The most peculiar feature
are the antlers, which instead of having brow tines, have enormous
tines growing backward from close to the base of the beams. The
latter go almost straight up finally branching, so that the total num-
ber of tines is six.
It is all these peculiarities that have led to the Chinese giving
it the name Ssu-pu-hsiang, which means literally "not like four."
They say it is like, yet unlike the horse, like, yet unlike the ox, like,
yet unlike the deer, like, yet unlike the goat.
THE AUTHOR AND THE LATE MR. G. A. GRANT,
WITH BAG OF ROE, HARE AND PHEASANT
A NORTH SIIAXST TIOE-DEKR (Capreolus bcdfordi).
A FINE HEAD : Length llf inches.
Spread 9| inches.
Do you know the world's white roof -tree, do you know that windy
Where the baffling mountain-eddies chop and change?
Do you know the long day's patience, belly-down on frozen drift,
While the head of heads is feeding out of range?
It is there that I am going, where the boulders and the snow lie,
With a trusty, nimble tracker that I know.
I have sworn on oath, to keep it on the Horns of Ovis Poll
And the Bed Gods call me out and I must go.
No one who has not experienced it can form more than the faintest
idea of what "the long day's patience, belly-down on frozen drift" while
waiting to get a shot at the "head of heads feeding out of range"
Day after day the hunter goes out, and climbs the steep and rocky
ascents to the sheep range : he crosses wind-swept uplands, white with
the driven snow : he scales treacherous precipices, jagged with needles
and spurs of crumbling granite : ever with his trusty glasses to his
eyes he keeps spying, spying, spying, till one day he sees
on some far distant ridge a ram bearing the "head of
heads" he is seeking. Immediately he is seized with an
overwhelming desire to have that head at all costs. If luck is
with him, he may secure it in the next two hours; or he may
have a long tiring, day's work before he gets it; or it may take him
days and even weeks. Men have gone mad in the pursuit of such a
head, others have broken themselves in the endeavour to answer this,
the most powerful call of the Bed Gods. Those who survive it and
come out triumphant will be changed men, the unore so tbe longer
and harder the chase. Perhaps the change will not be noticeable to
the outside world, but from that time on he will never look upon life
in quite the same way. The creature he followed and shot will become
increasingly sacred to him. That head becomes a fetish, and all his life
his heart will beat quicker and the hot blood go surging through his
being, as he recalls the memory of those days of toil, hours of almost
agonized stalking and that final supreme age-long moment of suspense*
as he took aim, pressed the trigger and awaited the result of his death -
messenger. And who can describe the agony, the terrible stinging
regret, that must last a lifetime, when that proud head, held high as
ever, is born swiftly, away and away never more to be seen except in
bitter memory? That is sheep hunting.
To the Pamirs, to the Eocky Mountains, to the Himalayas and
the Altai, men have gone in search of wild sheep, the wariest of all
game. Through privation, hardship, toil and exposure th>ey have
attained their ambitions, and many a fine head, gracing a stately hall,
tells the story of their endeavours.
It has fallen to the lot of but few Europeans to shoot the wild
sheep of North China. The animal itself is undoubtedly the rarest of
its kind inhabiting but a few isolated areas. It is being driven out by
the great northward flow of Chinese settlers, that is also driving back
It is mercilessly hunted by the natives, while there have been
Europeans who have not been above taking unreasonably heavy toll
from its fast diminishing numbers. One man, has gone so far as to
WILD SHEEP. 17
offer so much per head to the native hunters, with the result that in
the last- two years some dozens of good rams hiave 1 been killed, out of
a district, that contains not more than about a hundred rams all told.
S'o far only two or three districts, all of very restricted area, have
been discovered containing these sheep. Under these circumstances
it is the duty of every European and American, who is fortunate
enough to visit these districts to hold himself in strict control, and to
be content with his two or three head.
There are a good many different species of wild sheep, but this
paper will be confined to tttose inhabiting Asia, particularly that part
of Asia adjoining China.
Of the large type to which the North China sheep (Ovis jubata)
belongs, there are five distinct species, ranging from the Pamirs to
Siberia. The most westerly species bears the well known name of
Ovis poli, and was first discovered by Marco Polo. This species is
characterized by the great length and wide spread of the horns in the
ram. The spiral is more drawn out than in any other species. It
inhabits the high Central Asian steppes known as the Pamirs, and
has probably been more hunted by Europeans than any of the other
Next to this comes Ovis hodgsoni, which inhabits Thibet, and
is characterized by the massiveness of it's horns, together with the
extreme compression of the spiral. The horns grow abruptly back,
their ends often coming flush with the animal's nose, so that they
have to be kept worn down in order that their bearer may eat. On
this account) long, horns are the exception.
A third, and perhaps the largest species is found in the Thian
Shan and Altai Mountains. This is known as Ovis littledalei, named
after its discoverer. Very few of this species have been shot by
The fourth species is Ovis ammon, with which 0. hodgsoni, and
O. jubata, are often confused. It is an inhabitant of Mongolia and
Ovis jubata, the North China species was first discovered north
of Peking, and described by Peters in 1876. Since then it has pretty
well been lost, sight of, till within the last ten years it was rediscovered
in North Shansi, by whom I do not know. The first specimens I saw
of it were brought down to Tientsin in 1906. One of these was an
enormous head, of which' I have not seen the rival, and my regret is
that I did not measure it.
18 WILD SHEEP.
This sheep seems to have been driven out of the district north
of Peking, and at present is only definitely known to inhabit North
It is a really magnificent animal, and it is possible that it may yet
be found to be the largest species of all.
Up to the present the greatest measurements obtained are : length
of horn 52 inches; basal circumference of horn 19 inches; height at
shoulder 45f inches. This compares favourably with the records of
the other four species, which are as follow:
Eecord length of horn 75 inches.
Record basal circumference of horn 16f inches.
Record height at siboulder 46 inches.
Record length of horn 62| inches.
Record basal circumference 19 inches.
Record height, at shoulder, not given.
Record length of horn 75 inches.
Record basal circumference 18| inches.
Approximate height at' shoulder 42 inches to 48 inches.
0. ammon :
Record length of horn 62 inches.
Record basal circumference 19 inches.
Approximate height at shoulder 42 inches to 48 inches.
It will bo seen from these measurements that the horns of
f O. jubata, have a greater basal circumference in proportion to, their
length than any of the other species. It must be remembered that
as only a comparatively few of the North China and T'hdan Shan sheep
have been measured, it is highly probable that much larger heads
exist. As it is these two species hold the records for basal circum-
ference of horns.
The American Bighorn (Ovis canadensis) and the Karnschatkan
wild scheep (Ovis nivicola) are considerably smaller than these Central
Asian giants. Their records are respectively: length of horn 50^
inches, basal circumference 18 inches, and length of horn 39 inches,
basal circumference 14f inches. In t'hte case of the American Bighorn,
a great number of heads have been secured and measured, so that the
record is probably well established and hard to beat. A full grown
ram averages not more than 38 inches at the shoulder.
THE WILD SHKKP OF NORTH CHINA.
THE AUTHOR WITH HIS BEST RAM.
Length of horn: 50 inches.
Girth of horn: 17^ inches.
WILD SHEEP. 19
The wild sheep of North China' is of a dark fawn grey colour, with
a very pronounced white croup disc, and cream coloured legs. The
hair is thick and in places inclined to be woolly. There is a well
developed mane, while the hair on the front of the neck is long. In
very old rams the shoulders and back become flecked with white.
They are very deep in the chest, light in the quarters, with long
slender, though powerful legs. The tail is very short, being marked
above with dark brown, which is connected with the brown of the back.
The bead is held erect, there being a tremendous development of the
neck muscles and vertebrae to support the enormous weight of horn.
The country inhabited by 0. jubata consists of rugged mountain
ranges radiating from extensive grassy and rolling uplands. These
mountains average about 7,000 ft. in altitude, which, is not! very high
for sheep. They rise abruptly from the plain, which is not more than
2,500 ft. above sea level. This gives a rapid ascent of over 4,000 ft-.,
no mean climb if taken in a single day.
The sheep scatter in small herds all over the ridges, retiring to
the uplands when pursued. In summer the old rams retire to the high
back ranges, though the ewes and young rams stay on in their usual
The rutting season is in October, the young being born in April
and May. When in combat over the ewes, two rams will back off
from each other, lower their heads and charge. The impact is terrific
as the two masses of horn, driven by several hundred pounds of bone
and muscle, crash into each other. The battered condition of many
horns testifies to the fierceness of the conflicts, which may be heard a
considerable distance away. When one ram is beaten, he seeks safety
in flight, the victor following up his success by running behind and
butting the vanquished one in the rear, till he is well out of the way of
the herd, over which the fight has taken place.
The rams are in best condition just before and during the rutting
season, when also they are most reckless and easily hunted. Sub-
sequently they leave the ewes, and go off together in twos and threes.
Very old rams usually become solitary, keeping aloof from their kind
the greater part of the year. When three rams are seen together it
may be noticed that the largest acts as leader. He is followed closely
by the smallest, whale the second in size, being more independent
usually lags in t'hie rear. In a large herd of ewes under the guidance
of an old ram, an old ewe generally leads the way, while the ram
herds the rest, keeping them all in front of him. Only
20 WILD SHEEP.
when danger presses will he step up and take the lead. This is also
the case with antelopes and some deer.
The speed and agility of these sheep is remarkable. They will
travel over the roughest country, down almost perpendicular cliffs,
leaping from crag- to crag as easily as a pony gallops down the last
quarter in the trials.
Though their hearing and sense of smell are highly developed, they
are chiefly remarkable for their keen sight, to which they trust more
than to anything else. Thus in stalking them, though it is well to keep
to lee-ward and to move as silently as possible, it is much more
important to keep out of sight,. ' ;,
The flesh of this animal is excellent, especially that on the ribs
and hind quarters. Naturally the flesh of the ewes is more tender
and sweet than that of the rams. The skin is used in making leather
and rugs, being worth Tls. 2.00 a piece.
My first experience of this splendid animal was in the spring of
1912, when with three European companions I visited the mountains
round Kuei-hua-ch'eng. Two of my companions had already visited
the district and had secured some nice trophies. Leaving the town
we struck into the mountains and pitched camp about five miles up a
deep and rocky ravine, down which flowed a clear stream, and where
we were fairly well sheltered from t'hte terrible storms that rage through
those mountains at that time of year.
From here we hunted in every direction. Usually we split up
into two parties, each taking a native hunter along. In this way we
covered a good deal of country, but were not very successful. The
season was a bit late, and though we saw plenty of big rams they
were very wild. Only two of us succeeded in getting good heads and
we finally gave up hunting, and moved off to new grounds in an attempt
to get other game.
My second visit to this district took place in the winter of 1913,
and from a hunter's point of view was much more successful and
enjoyable. This time Captain T. Holcomb of the U. S. Marines
accompanied me, and we had some really fine sport.
The weather being too cold for tents, we found lodgings at a
little hamlet situated at the base of the mountains, in the mouth
of one of the long valleys leading right into the heart of the sheep
country. In this way we had the choice of two routes into the
hunting grounds, one, a stiff climb up the two thousand foot ascent
ais the back of our hamlet, the other a ten mile tramp up the rocky
valley with its half frozen stream. In any case several stiff climbs
WILD SHEEP. 21
and many miles hard marching 1 , were necessary to get at the sheep,
so it mattered little, which path we took. My companion usually
preferred the stiff climb to begin with, while I kept to the valley
route. This naturally set us to hunting in different sections of coun-
try, so that? we did not interfere with each other.
The first day, however, we both started together up the "white
trail" as we called the very conspicuous path that lead up the moun-
tain side. This trail can be seen from the eastern and south-eastern
boundaries of the Kuei-hua-ch'eng plain, fully forty miles away.
Arriving at the top, just an hour after leaving camp, we con-
tinued along one of the great ridges leading to the uplands. On
our way we sighted a small herd of ewes, which gave us a splendid
chance of testing our rifles, but we were after royal game, and let
them go. On reaching the grassy uplands, one of the Mongol hun-
ters spied two rams standing away off on the crest of a ridge. As
it. was* my companion's first experience of sheep hunting I suggested
that he should try to get up to these rams, one of which we could see by
our glasses), had a fine pair of horns.
Accordingly we separated. I had not gone far when Holcomb's
rifle rang out, and looking round I saw a large herd of sheep break-
ing away to the west. I took one rapid shot, but failed to find a
mark, and as the herd was well on its way up an opposing slope I
reserved my fire for something more certain.
Those shots seemed to set all the game in the country moving.
First a large covey of partridges rose from almost under my feet,
and sailed off on whistling wings. Then a herd of six roedeer came
bounding out of a little hollow in front of me, and swept away to the
north. Next instant, from out a deep ravine to the east, where I
had secured my first good head, walked a herd of sheep led by two
old rams. This was what I sought. A ram with a herd was bound
to be a gjood one.
Making my two shikarees crouch down in the long grass, I got
out my pocket telescope and ascertained that both rams carried good
horns, the second being slightly the larger. Obviously they were rivals
for the ownership of the herd, and as such would be easier to stalk
than lone rams, or those without a harem.
We were a long way from the sheep, but kept perfectly still
till they had crossed a ridge and disappeared over the main divide,
Then carefully noting the lie of the land, and the direction of the
wind, we cut across the slopes to head off the herd. The sheep had
not been really scared, and we guessed that they would move slowly,
22 WILD SHEEP.
once they were across the ridge. As a matter of fact they descended
the shady slope about half way, and then stopped to feed.
In less than half an hour we were peeping cautiously over one
of the side ridges at the unsuspecting animals. The big ram was
lying down, while his ewes fed all round him. The other ram had
crossed the valley, and stood like a sentinel on a small spur of rock.
This rendered stalking quite impossible as each ram, kept watch, as
it were, for the other, and either taking alarm would warn the other.
We decided to lie and wait for a change that would be more fav-
ourable, but after a most uncomfortable hour, during which we slowly
chilled down to numbness in the biting wind, there was no change
in the positions of our quarry, except that the sentinel across the
valley, had settled himself comfortably to enjoy his daily sun bath,
and several of the ewes had joined their lord, and lay quietly rumi-
nating by his side.
I did not care to risk a long shot, so finally decided to get nearer.
If only I could cross a small coverless stretch at the bottom of the
main valley I could creep up to within easy range. In any case, if
the sheep took alarm, and moved off, they would probably offer me a
better chance of stalking them. I crept slowly down to the grassy
stretch, which I tried to cross, but the moment I showed myself the
old ram rose to his feet, and started off to where the other ram kept
watch. This animal also took alarm, and before long every sheep
was out of sight in a side ravine on the north of the main valley.
I hurried to get to a favourable spot, but. before I could do so the
leading ram appeared on the next side ridge. Sinking down behind
a boulder, I waited till the herd rounded the shoulder into the next
side ravine. Then I hurried up the slope, arriving at the shoulder
just in time to see the herd cross the main ridge. Now, however,
they seemed to have got over their fears once more, and were moving
slowly, grazing and playing with each other as they went. They
crossed a wide gentle slope, and entered another side ravine. This
time they did not reappear till I was well within range, and gave me
the chance I sought. Drawing a bead upon the big ram, who stood
end on to me, I pressed the trigger. A spirt of dust rose from the
slope in front of his nose. He turned and dashed away,
followed by his herd of ewes, while I lay in the grass,
cursing the eagerness, which had made me forget that my
rifle carried high at close range. All my care in stalking, had
gone for nothing; my patience in the cold north wind was wasted.
The day was far spent : there was nothing to do but- go home, empty
WILD SHEEP. 23
handed. When, oh when, would I learn to think before pressing
We started homeward depressed and chilled, when suddenly came
one of those turns in fortune, when the fickle Dame seems to take pity
on the one she has flouted, and gives him one more chance. On
rounding the shoulder, we spied the herd away on the shady side of
a distant ridge. By rights we should never have seen that herd
again, but there it was, and the sheep instead of fleeing with those
long graceful bounds, that take them over the hillsides eight feet
at a jump, were standing gazing along their? back-trail.
Dropping out of sighit, we doubled round the hill top, crossed
a grassy slope, skirted the sunny side of the ridge on which we had
seen the sheep, and topped it between two rocky crags. There, sure
enough, was the old ram with two ewes, still foolishly gazing along
their back-trail. This time I made no mistake, and almost as I
pressed the trigger I heard the thud of a bullet which has found its
Once more the ram dashed off, vanishing into the next hollow
and reappearing on the next ridge. The next time we saw the herd,
there were only the ewes. A few minutes later I was bending over
my prize, admiring the head, which bore the longest horns I had yet
measured. Dame Fortune had indeed showed her smiling face, like
old Sol bursting through a rift in the thunder clouds.
The horns measured 50 ; inches in length, and had a basal cir-
cumference of 17 inches. The old ram stood 44 inches at the shoulder
and must have weighed at least- 300 Ibs. It was all the hunters
could do to pack home, hide, horn, and the four quarters.
By six o'clock we were back in camp. Soon the Captain turned
up with a nice head, so that we entered a successful day in our diaries.
Next day I shot a wild goat, and my companion secured a second
ram, but as we each wanted one more ram we decided to stay on a
The weather turned in bitterly cold on the following day, and
I experienced one of the hardest, and most disappointing days of my
life. Owing to the extreme cold the bolt of my rifle refused to work
with sufficient' force to discharge the cartridges. Not realizing this,
but putting it down to defective cartridges I kept on. I had the
terrible sensation of coming upon four different rams, with a useless
gun in my hands. The annoying thing was that after I had pulled
the trigger several times, and the sheep had taken alarm, and were
pretty well out of range, the rifle usually began to work.
24 WILD SHEEP.
On reaching camp, long after dark, after an eleven hours' tramp
over rocky ridges, across wind-swept uplands, and through deep snow
drifts, we found that Holcomb had secured a good head early in the
Next* day, however, luck was mine once more, for within two
hours of leaving camp, I had sighted a herd of sheep, stalked it and
secured the ram. He was a good sized animal, and I was now satis-
fied. In shooting him, one of my bullets passed clean through his
chest, and dropped an old ewe which was running beside 'him. This
was an unusually large specimen, standing nearly as high as the ram,
and having 18 inch horns.
After this we gave up hunting sheep, and decided to move on
to other country after wapiti and wild goats.
An account of wild sheep in China is not complete without some
reference to the burhel (Ovis nahura), a small wild sheep, which occurs
in Soutb- western Kansu. This sheep is of a grey-brown colour, with
black markings upon the legs and belly which otherwise are cream.
The horns, instead of curving in a circle like the other wild sheep, take
a backward turn, giving the head more the appearance of a goat's.
A very good description of this sheep is given in Frank Wallace's
"Big Game of Central and Western China."
OVER two centuries ago, when white men first penetrated the
continent of North America, they found a magnificent deer, akin to,
yet far larger and finer than the Scotch! red deer. To this animal
they erroneously gave the name of elk, by which it is still often called.
The proper name is wapiti, for the word elk applies to the large deer
with palmated horns of Scandinavia.
In certain areas of North America, wapiti swarmed in countless
thousands, but in time the ruthless, destroying hand of the white
settler well nigh swept them out of existence.
For a long time it was supposed that deer belonging to this
type were only to be found in this continent, excepting of course
the red deer in Europe, but within the last few decades Europeans,
who have succeeded in reaching the vast almost uninhabited wilds
of Central Asia have discovered deer, almost as fine, and every whit as
sporting as the American animals, in the Thian Shan, Siberian and
In still more recent times several species of wapiti have been dis-
covered within the confines of the Middle Kingdom, and to-day those
who can afford the time may stalk this lordly deer in his native haunts
in Kansu, Szechuan and North 1 Shansi.
Much discussion has taken place as to the status of the different
Asiatic species hitherto described, but it is now almost universally
agreed that there are at least thfe following ten distinct species:
The Kashmir Stag, (Cervus hanglu or cashmirianus) from Kashmir.
The Bactrian Wapiti (Cervus bactrianus) from Turkestan.
The Yarkand stag (Cervus yarcandensis) from Eastern Turkestan.,
The Sh-ou (Cervus affinis) from South Thibet and North Eastern India.
Thorold's Deer (Cervus albirostris) from Thibet, North' of Lhassa.
The Siberian Wapiti (Cervus asiasticus) from Siberia.
The Thian Shan Wapiti (Cervus songaricus) from the Thian Shan.
The Kansu Wapiti (Cerv\us Ttansuensis) from Kansu.
The Szechuan Wapiti (Cervus macneilli) from North-western Sze-
The Manchurian Wapiti (Cervus xanthopygus) from Manchuria.
26 WAPITI HUNTING.
All of these are large handsome deer, with horns, that vary in
shape, length and thickness, but conform to the elaphine type (red-
For the present, however, we need be concerned only with the
last four species, as belonging more especially to the Chinese fauna.
Of these the Thian Shan wapiti (C. songancus) is undoubtedly
the largest rivalling the American wapiti (C. canadensis) in the length
and number of points of its horns. The record measurements of the
[horns of the' latter species are as follows: length along beam 70 }
inches, circumference 14J inches, widest spread 68 inches. The best
records hitherto secured of the Thian Shan wapiti are: 55 inches
in length, 8 inches in girth, with thirteen points. These
measurements it will be seen are far less than the American
records, but it must be taken into consideration that while thousands
of American wapiti have been shot and measured, the number of
Thian Shan stags shot up to date can almost be counted on the fingers
of one hand. The same applies to most of the Asiatic species.
The next in size to the Thian Shan wapiti is the closely allied
Kansu wapiti (C. kansuensis) described as a distinct species within
the last two or three years. The only records I can find of this deer
are those of two stags secured on an expedition into Western China
carried out by Mr. George Fen wick- Owen in 1911. The measurements
of the best stag are: length 43J inches, circumference 5 inches,
widest spread 38 J inches. This stag had eleven points. His com-
panion Mr. H. F. Wallace, who describes the hunting of these deer and
other big game in his book "Big Game of Central and Western China,"
secured a stag, whose horn .had a circumference of 5f inches. These
deer were secured in the Min Chou district of South-western Kansu.
Of the Szechuan wapiti (C. macneilli) no horn measurements
lhave yet been published that I know of, the species having been
described from a doe.
The Manchurian wapiti (C. xanthopygus) is an animal differing
from the western forms in having a greyer coat and shorter but com-
paratively stouter horns. Its record measurements are: length 33 J
inches, circumference 5f inches, widest spread 21| inches.
This deer inhabits the heavily forested districts of Kirin and Hei-
lung-c'Mang, and, like the others, is much persecuted for the sake of
its horns, which, however, are considered of a superior quality.
In North Shansi a wapiti is found, which up to the present has
not been definitely identified as belonging to any of the species already
WAPITI HUNTING. 27
mentioned. It is a fine animal carrying splendid horns, and having
characteristics pertaining to both the Kansu and Manchurian species.
Thus its horns approach more nearly to those of the Kansu wapiti
in length, while they are much thicker and heavier.
The only records are those of a magnificent twelve pointer recently
shot by Captain T. Holcomb of the U. S. Marines. They are : length
41 inches, circumference 9 inches, widest spread 29 inches.
In colour this deer is of a rich reddy-brown in the summer,
while in winter it is of a fine grey-brown in adults, changing into
almost silver-grey in the very old bucks. There is a considerable
amount of silver-grey on the head, which with* the darkening on fche
nose and the fine horns makes it a very handsome trophy. In this
characteristic it approaches more nearly to the Manchurian wapiti,
the more western forms being distinctly browner in colour. The light
patch on the rump, or croup disc as it is called, is not white as in
the Kansu and Szechuan forms, but of a light sandy yellow colour, and
is surrounded by a conspicuous black band, which runs down to she
base of the tail, and also hast a tendency to continue up the back as
a median dorsal line. The tail is of the same colour as the croup disc.
The legs are of a pretty mouse-brown colour, darker on the anterior sur-
face. The chest and belly are dark brown, almost black. In this
feature it differs from the Kansu wapiti. In short, the North Shansi
wapiti appears to be an intermediate form between those from Man-
en una and those from Kansu.
My own experience with wapiti has been confined almost' entirely
to those found in North Shansi, but judging from accounts written by
others, who have hunted them in Kansu, the Thian Shan and elsewhere,
they are all much the same in habits, so that the following notes may
be said to apply more or less accurately to the whole group.
The country inhabited by the wapiti in North Shansi borders that
over which the sheep range, and is even more rough and precipitous
with very much less of the rolling grassy uplands. It is dotted over
with sparse birch woods in which the deer seek cover, certain woods
and ravines being more favoured by them than others, doubtless on
account of the proximity of permanent supplies of fresh water.
The few small herds that exist, wander from one to another of these
favoured spots over wide stretches of country. In winter the deer lie
up during the night and for a couple of hours at noon, feeding in the
morning and afternoon. During the Warmer months they travel during
the night and feed very early in the morning and late in the evening,
while they lie up in well shaded woods during the whole of the day.
28 WAPITI HUNTING.
In the autumn after the antlers have dried and the velvet has
been rubbed off against the tree trunks, the rutting season commences,
and then the big stags begin to send forth their roaring challenge, and
fight desperate duels with each other, the successful ones gathering
large harems round them. By the end of November the bujks begin
to leave the hinds and go off in twos and threes. Then thie herds are
led by old hinds, and gradually split up, till in the spring (May when
the fawns 'are born their mothers may be seen in twos and threes like
the bucks. The fawns are pretty little creatures of a reddy-fawn
colour spotted with white. Just before they are born their mothers
are hunted unmercifully, as at this stage of their existence the little
creatures are considered most valuable as medicine. A month later
the big bucks come in for their share of persecution, for their horns are
in velvet, and are then worth from Tls. 30 to Tls. 80 per pair to the
Chinese apothecary. (Manchurian wapiti horns are worth double this
figure). The horns are then called "shueh chiao" (blood horns) by
the natives, while hartshorn is known as "lujung" (deer wool). This
product is considered by wealthy Chinese to be of the utmost efficacy,
and they spend large sums of money upon it.
It is difficult to say whether this popular appreciation
of the medicinal worth of hartshorn is favourable or otherwise
to the preservation of the wapiti. From my own experience
I am inclined to look upon it as a blessing in disguise, for,
as far as the Shansi deer are concerned, it provides them with a very
long close season and a comparatively short open one. I found that
the majority of native hunters, so far from hunting the deer when
their horns are not in velvet, resent outsiders doing so. I have al-
ways found it extremely difficult to secure hunters who would guide
me to the haunts of these deer and the sika, and have been led on
many a fruitless chase. I also found this to be the case in Manchuria,
though in places like Kansu and the regions westward, where wapiti
still seem to be plentiful, and where the natives cannot fall back
on farming during the rest of the year, the wapiti is certainly hunted
without intermission. It is these districts whic'hi supply by far the
greater part of the big; demand for hartshorn, and huge caravans of
mules and camels laden with horns, dried as well as in velvet, may
be seen coining in from these western regions.
In hunting the wapiti various methods are adopted. In Man-
churia advantage is taken of the stag's habit of rolling in certain spots
in the open glades of the forests, and pitfalls are made. Pitfalls are
also made along the deer-paths in the woods. If by any chance a
WAPITI HUNTING. 29
deer is taken alive and uninjured, it is carefully kept, and the horns,
if it be a male, are shorn off annually when they are at the right stage
of development. If it be a female it is kept for breeding purposes.
In many places there are large deer farms.
In Shansi the native hunters resort to driving, several men with
guns being posted round a wood, wherein the deer are known to be
hiding, while others beat, through it towards the guns.
In Kansu and westward stalking or lying in wait for the deer
seem to be the favourite methods employed by the natives.
To the European these methods do not appeal. Activity being
the essence of his existence, he prefers to go after his quarry, track it
to its lair, or stalk it on the open hillside and finally risk all on a
difficult' shot, rather than make sure of it, by having it driven to him,
while he sits comfortably in some sheltered nook or shady dingle.
A good many Europeans have hunted the Asiatic wapiti, but it
would be almost safe to say that the number of those who have shot
the Shansi wapiti does not exceed half a dozen ; indeed it is my belief
that these deer were not definitely known to inhabit' this region till
two years ago, when certain Europeans in Kuei-hua-ch'eng were told
of their existence. Subsequently in the spring of 1912 a party of four
foreigners, of which the writer was one, discovered them in the moun-
tains west of that city. Having secured a couple of specimens for
the Smithsonian Institution, we decided to leave them alone as they
were in very poor condition, trusting that at some future date fortune
would bring us to the same country at a more favourable season.
My hopes in this direction were realized in the winter of 1913, during
a trip, already referred to in my paper on wild sheep. Captain Holcomb
and I were fortunate enough to discover a good stretch of wapiti country,
where we secured several nice trophies. A description of our ex-
periences will give the reader some idea of the splendid sport' to be
had in the chase of this lordly creature.
We arrived, after a hard journey, at a little village, nestling in
the shelter of a deep and narrow valley, one day early in December,
with a chill north wind blowing and a leaden snowy sky overhead.
We had hoped to get further up the valley, but the semi-frozen con-
dition of the rushing mountain stream prevented this, and we were
glad to accept the hospitality of a friendly villager, who placed two
good rooms at our disposal.
Engaging some local .hunters we started early next morning for
the deer grounds. The wind had increased overnight, and now came
whistling down from the north with a knife-like edge, that penetrated
30 WAPITI HUNTING.
and chilled to the bone. For three hours we faced it steadily, our path
growing rougher at every step. Several roedeer and a wild goat were
seen, but excepting the latter, at which a few shots were fired, they
were left alone. Presently, as we neared the head of the now rapidly
ascending valley, we glimpsed our first wapiti standing on an open
'hillside gazing at us. Seeking cover behind some scrub, we got out
our glasses, and, made out that the deer was a buck with fairly good
horns. There was no chance of stalking him, so we both tried a long
shot but missed. He turned and vanished over the ridge. Next instant
two more deer broke cover, and we fired bringing first one and then the
other down. On hurrying to the spot where they lay, we were chagrined
and ashamed to find that in our excitement we had shot a couple of
does. We were hardly to blame for 1 this, however, for, at the range we
had shot them, it had been impossible to make out the horns on the buck
without the aid of glasses. There was nothing for it but to skin the
deer for museum specimens and then go after the buck.
After the unpleasant job was over, and one of the hunters had been
dispatched to camp with the skins, we discussed the best way to secure
the buck, and finally I left my companion to follow up its trail, while
I cut across country in search of other game. I drew blank and after
a long, tiring tramp returned to camp. On the way back I shot a large
roedeer with an unusually fine pair of horns.
My companion, after we separated, crossed the grassy upland and
finally came upon his quarry lying down in what is known as a "yard,"
a place, usually in a well sheltered wood, specially favoured by deer
as a dormitory and playground. He successfully stalked the stag and
wounded him in the leg. Then followed one of those long heart-break-
ing chases across country, but finally he got his chance, and brought
down the animal with a well directed shot at long range.
Next day we went off in different directions, but my luck was out,
and I did not even see a wapiti, while Holcomb ran on to the trail of
a large stag, followed it up, and came upon his quarry quietly feeding
in an open glade, surrounded by fifteen hinds. At the fourth shot he
brought, the splendid animal down. It had a magnificent pair of horns,
the measurements of which I have already given.
After this my companion devoted his time to hunting wild-goats,
while I kept on in the hopes of securing a wapiti with good horns.
Next day, leaving camp before it was light, with the hunters at my
back I set off towards the wapiti "yard" where Holcomb had wounded
his first buck. It was empty, so we struck off over the snow-covered
Photo by Captain T. Holcomb.
THE NORTH SHAN si WAPITI.
CAPTAIN T. HOLCOMB AND A SIX-POINTER.
NORTH CHINA GORAL. (Urotragus caudatus).
WAPITI HUNTING. 31
Before long we came upon the fresh trail of a large herd of deer,
and followed it up. It lead us several miles in an easterly direction and
then turned southward along the eastern side of a massive ridge, ribbed
with side ridges and deep wooded ravines. Suddenly out of one of
these two large bucks appeared, one with a good pair of horns. They
did not seem frightened, but crossed the adjacent ridge into the next
ravine. With bated breath we crept to the spot where they had vanish-
ed, but could not see them for the dense birch brush. Sending the
two hunters into the woods, I took up a commanding position near the
head of the ravine. However, the only game that came my way were a
couple of roedeer and a herd of twelve wapiti does. Finally I saw the
blue smoke of a fire curling up from a spot in the woods, a.nd descending
to it, found my hunters having their lunch. They said that the two
bucks had broken cover and gone out at the bottom of the ravine, a
most unusual thing.
After we had satisfied our cravings for food, we picked up their
trails, and followed them back into the first ravine. Before long we
saw them just topping the crest of the opposing ridge. They crossed
it and disappeared once more, and there was nothing for us to do but
follow, though by now we were pretty tired, and the sun was fast
slanting westward. Over the top of the ridge the trail turned back
towards the west, and I knew that the deer were heading for the "yard,"
we had visited earlier in the day. As straight as an arrow the tracks
led, while we followed, and at last we came in sight; of the wood. There
sure enough, with my glasses, I could make out a great stag lying in
the snow. We ducked out of sight, dodged round the crest of a low
ridge, followed down the gentle hollow and, when, about opposite to the
place where the deer were lying, crept stealthily up to the shoulder. In
the gathering gloom I could make out what appeared to be a large
deer with good horns lying within about 150 yards of me. Taking a care-
ful aim I fired. The deer rolled over, and I was about to give vent to
my feelings in a joyous shout, when up rose the form of a huge stag
with spreading antlers, such as any sportsman might wish to own.
One moment he stood gazing in my direction, and then with head low,
and horns held back to avoid the branches, he commenced to run
through the birch trees. I fired several shots. His pace slackened,
but he gained the shoulder of the ridge. There he stood with the last
rays of the setting sun lighting up his superb antlers, and his hot
breath coming in clouds of vapour. Steadying myself, and taking more
careful aim, I pressed the trigger, there was a click but no report 1 .
Magazine and chamber were empty. Next instant the stag vanished
over the ridge, and though I did not know it, I had lost my last chance
82 WAPITI HUNTING.
of getting a big wapiti. We harried across to the yard where the
smaller buck lay. He jumped up and ran, but my second shot brought
him down once more. Leaving the hunters to skin this animal I
hurried on to pick up the big stag's trail. I was sure I had hit him,
but the trail I found bore no testimony to this effect. The sun had
set. Darkness would be on us in half an hour, and we were fully ten
miles from camp. I felt sure that I would be able to pick up and
follow the trail of the big wapiti next day, and doubted not that I would
find him at no great distance, so decided to return to camp forthwith.
As we set out with the skin and head of tlie small stag, the last glimmer
of daylight faded away, and we had a long tramp in the dark, finally
arriving at our village tired out, but full of hope for what the next day
would bring us.
We were doomed to disappointment, however, for though we found
the trail easily enough, it soon got mixed up with half a dozen others,
just as fresh. When at last, after infinite pains we had unravelled the
tangled skein, the treacherous sun was melting the snow that had lain
undiminished for a week, and soon we hopelessly lost the trail in a
wide valley, whence all the snow had evaporated.. Finally
I had to be content with a couple of small bucks. The
two days following I searched the whole country for my big
buck, but in vain. At the end of the second day, some wood cutters
told me that they had seen a large deer with fine antlers travelling
northward fifty li away. It had a broken leg and two dogs were worry-
ing it. Also a couple of hunters had gone after it. Then I gave up.
My two hunters, who had faithfully stuck to me, were worn out, and
the hope that had kept me going during those days of remorseless
tracking and searching over such country, and in such weather left me,
and I realized that I had never been so tired in my life.
Further more our time was up, so after a day spent in packing, we
left* the hunting grounds on our way back to civilization and the longed
for comforts of home. But the thought of those antlers, lost, gone to
swell another man's bag, is, and will continue to be the bitterest re-
miniscence of many failures in the hunting field.
NORTH China, except for the great alluvial plains adjoining the
seaboard, is essentially a mountainous country. From east to west,
and north to south t'hie mighty ranges run. Massive spurs and
castellated peaks rise from the ridges, their ribbed and naked sides often
falling sharply away for thousands of feet. Down through the strata
descend deep chasms, hewn by the eternal passage of mist-fed waters,
whose many voices rise from the shadowy depths, so far below that
they come only as a gentle murmur. In many places these walls of
rock, sheer and precipitous, are scarred across with light grass-covered
ledges, upon which one would think an eagle could scarcely find foot-
hold, far less a wingless quadruped.
Here and there caves, wide crevices or water-worn hollows neath
over-hanging crags give shelter from t'be warring elements, while, at
intervals amongst the precipices and rugged cliffs, occur more gentle
slopes, covered with rich grass, dense brush and sometimes with stunted
It is such places as these that the goral chooses for its home.
Here, sure-footed as a cat, agile as a deer, it may hide where none
can find, or flee where none dare follow; and so find safety from its
He who would hunt the goral must be prepared to face the most
difficult climbs, involving the hardest kind of work, and calling for a
cool head, steady nerves and an active body. Often he will find him-
self hanging on by his nails, with nothing but space beneath him,
and a seemingly unattainable s'belf his only hope of safety. All this,
however, but lends zest to the sport, which ranks very high amongst
the different kinds to be had in this country.
The goral has been called the chamois of Asia, and it would be difficult
to find a more appropriate name. In build, size and habits the goral,
or good-antelope, as it is sometimes called, is very much like the
84 THE GOEAL.
chamois. It has the same short goat-like feet, the same soft though
fuzzy hair and mane, the same large ears and the same wonderful
agility and climbing powers. The h'orns, though of the same type,
are, however, straighter and do not have the sharp hook of those of
the chamois. Again, whereas the chamois goes about in herds, the
goral is more of a solitary animal. The chamois inhabits the mountain
summits and open ridge tops, while the goral keeps more to the steep
The goral, together with the chamois, the serow and the remark-
able takin, form a connecting link between the true goats and the
antelopes. They are all mountain inhabiting animals, and are mainly
characterized by their smooth, cylindrical horns, usually annulated at
the base, their goat-like forms arid their absence of beards. Two species
occur in the Himalayas. These are Urotragus goral and 17. bedfordi. In
Eastern Thibet occur two others U. cinereus and U. griseus. Heude has
described several from different parts of China, but as the status of some
of these is' questioned, we will not bother with them. In this chapter we
need be concerned with only two distinct species, one U. gale anus
from South Shensi, and the other U. caudatus from North Chihli.
The latter was originally described by Milne-Edwards as Antilope
It is just possible that U. cinereus one of the Thibetan forms may
extend into Western Kansu, and so come under our heading of North
U. galeanus is a dark grey-brown animal having a broad cream-
coloured patch on the throat; legs cream-coloured from the knee and
hock joints downward ; a slight suggestion of a median dorsal line ; and
a long, curled, black tail. The insides of the ears are also cream-
coloured. It stands about thirty inches at the shoulder and has horns
of from four to six inches in length. These slope back sharply and
are very pointed, with but a slight curve.
The length of the tail is due chiefly to the great length of the
hairs, which protrude beyond the last vertebra for five or six inches,
and have a strong upward curl. The long tail, arched shoulders and
head held low, together with the stealthy cat-like movements, or the
quick, erratic bounds from rock to rock give the goral a most peculiar
U. caudatus, so called on account of its unusually long tail, is much
browner in colour than the foregoing species. It has a less conspicuous
patch on the throat, a more pronounced median dorsal line, and has
the same cream coloured legs. It inhabits the mountains of North
Photo by Captain T. Hol<omb.
MONGOL HUNTER AND GORAL.
SHOT BY CAPTAIN T. HOLCOMB IN
THE GOEAL. 35
Chihli, being found as near to Peking as the peaks surrounding the
Nankou Pass. It is also common in the mountains to the west of
the Capital, and extends for a considerable distance southward. In
Shansi it occurs only in the extreme north, where, in certain places,
it is very plentiful indeed.
Here as elsewhere it is remorselessly hunted by the natives, so
that it is rapidly becoming exterminated. The goral's skin is very
pretty, the fur being soft and strong, so that it fetches a good price.
Doubtless with the opening up of the country to increased trade with
Europe and America, the goral is another fine sporting animal added
to the list of those already doomed to extermination.
In hunting the goral it is particularly important to learn as much'
as possible of its habits. It is by far the most? elusive of all $he larger
game animals in this country, and it is only by knowing just' where it
may be found, and what it is likely to do when put up that one can hope
to secure it. Of course native hunters can help a great deal, and when
out. after goral the beginner would do well to pay strict attention to what
his shikaree tells him to do.
The goral feeds early in the mornings and late in the evenings often
before and after daylight. After the morning meal, it clambers down
to the stream-bed to get a drink, and then hurries back Jo the cliffs.
Here it chooses a sunny spot, often on some spur or ledge of rock in full
view of the passer by, and lies down to rest. In summer it prefers the
shade of the caves and overhanging rocks. It must not' be imagined,
'however, that the goral can be easily seen, because of the exposed posi-
tions it chooses for its siesta. On the contrary, so perfectly does it
resemble its surroundings, and so still does it lie, that it is absolutely
invisible, even to the keen eyed natives. Sometimes, however, its
nerves get the better of it, and it betrays its presence by a flicker of
jbhe ear, or even by a sudden precipitous rush for a safer vicinity.
When put up it is by far the hardest animal to hit. Its small size
and quick erratic movements, combined with its constant appearance
and disappearance as it dodges amongst the boulders and through the
brush, and its remarkable' protective colouring render it a most difficult
mark. Also it is usually put up under the worst possible conditions for
accurate shooting. It not infrequently happens that, just at the critical
moment, the hunter finds himself perched perilously on the edge of
some yawning chasm, when the loss of balance means certain destruc-
tion ; or he may be struggling to recover his breath after the exhausting
climb, when with a rush, the quarry breaks cover, and he finds himself
unable to draw a bead upon it.
36 THE GOEAL.
The best of shots are often beaten by this elusive little quadruped,
and I know of more than one sportsman in this country with long lists
of big game to their credits, to whom it would not be safe to mention
the word goral.
Nevertheless, that the goral can be secured, and just how this
may be done, the following narratives will show.
My first experience of the goral was gained in the Chin-ling moun-
tains south of Si-an Fu, Shensi. Here I was camped in a little temple
in a deep ravine, while I scoured the neighbouring peaks and ridges
for specimens. One day I was shown a pair of goral's horns and
was told that these animals were very plentiful on a certain peak
not N far away. Accordingly I set off next day, accompanied by my
boy and, after a stiff climb, reached the summit of the peak in
question. There we found a little temple, the inmates of which told
me that we would find a goral in a certain small cut on the east side
of the peak. With great difficulty, owing to the dense scrub, matted
trees and steep slopes, we made our way to the cut, and sure enough
as we reached it, out jumped a large goral. I was in a very awkward
position for shooting, so that the animal escaped me and was soon out
We followed its trail, however, which led us round the shoulder
of the peak, ending abruptly on the edge of a precipice, which fell
away almost sheer for some hundreds of feet. I decided to climb down
after my quarry, but had not gone far before the goral broke cover,
and climbing rapidly upwards vanished Over the top as my rifle rang
out. Fortunately my boy was ready with the shotgun and brought
the animal down with a well directed charge of buckshot. Though
I could not claim the honours of the chase, I was more than pleased
at securing this fine specimen for my collection.
It was some years before I got another opportunity of shooting a
goral. This was in the mountainous country of North Shansi. Here,
with three c<ompanions, I put in several days after goats, as we call-
ed them. We had all done very well with sheep, roedeer and wapiti,
but we failed to secure a goat. On one occasion two of the party
went out. specially to get one of these animals. After a hard climb up
some precipitous slopes, t'hley were stationed by the native hunters
on narrow ledges, from whichi giddy perches they could command two
or three other ledges, and incidentally an uninterrupted view of the
stream and boulder-strewn bed a thousand feet below them. The na-
tives, with many parting injunctions to the sportsmen, not to move,
then made a detour to the head of some adjacent cliffs and began
heaving over rocks and shouting. Very soon two goats broke cover
THE GOEAL. 37
and came scrambling along towards the watchers. One of the sports-
men opened fire, and immediately the goats sought' cover and were
lost to view. He then started to climb down to where he thought
the quarry were hiding; but had not gone far when they broke cover
again. Kaising his rifle he commenced to fire, regardless of the fact
that his foothold had given way and he was sliding down a grassy
slope towards the brink of the precipice. Of course his shots went
wide, the goats got away, and he was only just able to save himself
by digging the butt of his Winchester into the clinging grass, roots. The
other sportsman had been unable to get a second view of the goats.
On another occasion a goat was put up and was actually beaded
off from the high cliffs, and kept dodging about the lower slopes for
fully half an hour. The sixteen shots that were fired at this one all
went wide, and presently, having worn its pursuers down to a state
approaching prostration, the goat managed to get back to the high
peaks and safety.
During my last trip with Captain Holcomb several goats were
bagged, but it was only by driving, the method invariably employed
by the Chinese hunters, that my companion got his.
This form of sport is really very enjoyable. Choosing, if possible
a bright warm day, the party consisting, of two or three guns and as
many beaters make for a likely spot. A stiff climb is always necessary
for the guns to get to their posts. They are assigned certain positions
along! the probable lines of flight of the quarry. Here they make them-
selves as comfortable as possible, while the beaters go round to
drive out the goats. Presently the long shouts of the drivers com-
mence. Anon these change, and the anxious listener can distinctly
make out the words "yang kuo ke la," meaning "a sheep has gone
over," and indicating that the game is afoot. If luck is with the
sportsman he will soon see a goat passing within easy range, and a
careful shot brings the drive to a successful close.
Though I spent a couple of days driving, my only goat was secured
one morning on its way back to its haunts, after its daily drink from
(the stream in the valley bottom. I had started out earlier than usual
that morning, and so got ahead of the grass cutters, who usually dis-
turbed the game in the valleys on the way to their work. Within
a mile of camp we suddenly came upon the goat, which offered the
usual tantalizing mark, as it scurried up amongst the rocks. It had
gained an altitude of some 200 ft. above the stream bed before I was
able to get a good aim. My second shot- hit it in the shoulders but did
not disable it and it continued upwards with wonderful agility. At
38 THE GORAL.
last, however, a bullet found its heart, and with a few convulsive
struggles it rolled off the shelf and came flying down through space.
I expected to find my prize hopelessly mangled after such a fall, but
strange to relate except for a slight injury to one horn, and the two
bullet wounds it was undamaged.
I saw several more goats in the same way but succeeded in hitting
only one. I lost this one, however, as it got away> its remains being
picked up next day after the wolves bad been at it.
My driving was a complete failure. Only one goat was put up,
and though I managed to hit it at unusually long range it made good
its escape in the labyrinth of rocks and boulders of a mighty amphi-
theatre of towering cliffs and jagged scarps.
My companion had better luck, however, securing three goats
altogether, Two of these had good heads. He very nearly lost one
of them, as it took refuge in a cave, in the floor of which was a deep
shaft going into the bowels of the earth. The goat in its dying struggles
fell into this shaft, but fortunately was caught on a small ledge, from
which it was rescued by one of the natives.
ANTELOPE SHOOTING IN MONGOLIA,
WHEN the word antelope is mentioned one's thbughts immediate-
ly take wing to the great game preserves of East Africa, which country
we have been taught to look upon as par excellence the sportmaai'a
paradise. And so it is. There one may see herd upon herd of antelope
and buck, often containing tJhree or four different kinds, feeding together
on those immense grassy and shrub-dotted stretches.
Altogether there are well over eighty kinds of antelopes found
in Africa, ranging in size from the eighteen foot giraffe down to the
little blue duiker, which stands only thirteen inches at the shoulder,
or in weight from the fifteen hundred pound eland to the seven pound
dik-dik, and in appearance from the hideously fierce looking gnu to
the graceful and elegant spring buck.
Nevertheless Africa is not the only place where there are antelopes.
In Asia there are plenty of these pretty and graceful creatures, though
there is not so great a variety. They extend from Asia Minor
through Palestine, Arabia and Turkestan southward into India, and
eastward and northward into Mongolia. Most of these belong to the
genus Gazella and are inhabitants of the arid desert regions.
In Mongolia there are at least three different species of antelopes
or gazelles, namely, Przewalski's gazelle (GazeNa przeivalskii), the Mon-
golian gazelle ((?. gutturosa) and the goitred antelope (G. subguttuwsa).
Of these Przewalski's gazelle inhabits the western Gobi and is charac-
terized by its strongly curved horns, very short tail and small size.
The goitred antelope, so called on account of its greatly enlarged
larynx, is commonest in Outer Mongolia. It has a long tail, and much
straighter horns than Przewalski's gazelle.
The Mongolian gazelle ranges from Western Gobi right across
Mongolia and is also found all along the Chinese border. It occurs
in vast herds often containing hundreds of head. It is larger than
either of the other two species, and 'has longer horns. The tail is
40 ANTELOPE SHOOTING IN MONGOLIA.
This antelope is a fine looking animal, especially in its winter
coat. In summer it is of a rich orange -fawn colour, with white under-
parts and croup. The winter pelage is much lighter and is without
the orange tint. The horns, which are only present in the males,
rise at a slight backward angle from the head for four or five inches.
They then slope more sharply backward and outward, finally turning
in and slightly upward at the tips. They are nicely annulated for
three-quarters of their length. The record measurements up to date
are 16f inches in length and 4J inches in girth with a spread of 6f
inches at the tips.
This is the animal that used to be sent annually to the Palace
in Peking as tribute from the Mongol Princes. Doubtless the reader
has seen them for sale in the markets here and in the Capital. Only
good sized males could be sent down, and these had to have the front
legs crossed over the back of the neck. The flesh is excellent especially
during the winter after it has been kept in a frozen condition for some
The Mongols have several ways of hunting the antelope. They
may chase them on horse back with hounds, or stalk them on foot;
but neither of these methods could be used to supply the big demands
from Peking. For this the chiefs have to organize big drives, which
are conducted in the following manner. Two lines of pits or trenches
are dug commencing far apart and gradually converging till they meet.
In the last dozen or so pits, men, chosen for their marksmanship, are
hidden. Then a large body of horsemen ride out and round up a
herd, or several herds of antelope, and drive them into the wide end
of the two lines of pits. The antelope will not attempt to jump over
the pits, and so crowd together and are driven down the narrowing
lane. When they reach the marksmen, the latter open fire and, inflict
terrible slaughter. The rest of the herd, driven by fear, finally escape
across the lines.
I do not know how the Mongols conduct the chase with hounds,
but should imagine that relays must be used, for tftre antelope is far
speedier than any hound. One European of my acquaintance, who
lived in Mongolia, told me of a Eussian wolf hound that he had, which
couldi follow a herd of antelope keeping; just three or four leaps behind
the hindmost, but could never catch up those last few yards. Of
course this hound was extremely useful in catching wounded animals.
Stalking on foot requires considerable skill and knowledge of the
habits of the antelope. Usually two or three hunters go out on horse
THE MONGOLIAN GAZELLE (GazeUa gutturosa).
THE AUTHOR AND HIS FIRST BUCK.
F. W. WARRINGTON AND HIS BEST ANTELOPE.
ANTELOPE SHOOTING IN MONGOLIA,. 41
back. When a herd is sighted one jumps off and worms his way
over the ground till he reaches a satisfactory position. Meanwhile
the others have ridden round and attempt to drive the buck towards
the man with the gun. This method can only be practised in hilly
country, as the antelope are much too sharp-sighted kf be deceived
in this way on the flat open plain.
The European with his high-power long-range repeating rifle has a
much better chance of shooting antelope than the Mongol with his
primitive weapon, but even he will find it extremely hard to estimate
ranges, for Mongolia, above all countries, is a land of great distances.
Hills that appear ten minutes walk away will not be reached in an
hour, and the range of a buck that one puts down as being not more
tihan two hundred yards will turn out to be nearer six hundred. It is
only when one gets into hilly country that one finds this wary game
at all easy to secure, and even then one must either be a remarkably
good shot, or else have had some experience of the quarry and Mon-
One thing is certain, he who attempts to go after antelope with-
out being well mounted and having one or two equally well mounted
attendants, will be foolish indeed. It is always best to get hold of
a Mongol hunter, for they are certainly fine shikarees, and, if their
advice is followed, will bring one right up to within easy range of the
My own experience of the Mongolian antelope was gathered during
three different collecting trips, one in the Ordos Desert, another in
North Shansi and the third in Mongolia north of Kalgan. On the
first trip I was unsuccessful in my attempt to shoot an antelope,
though it was not the fault of the Mongol who accompanied me. He
brought me up to within fifty yards of a herd of thirty or forty nice
buck, but it was my own wretched marksmanship that prevented my
securing a trophy. I shall never forget dodging from hillock to hillock,
now creeping flat upon the sand, now running with body bent low
behind the cover of some bushes,, and finally climbing stealthily up
the last ridge and lying at the top to regain my breath ere I fired.
The buck were quite unconscious of our presence, till the nearest one
suddenly looked up and spotted me. With a peculiar sneezing noise
it made off. The rest of the herd sprang to attention, every head
pointed in my direction. In my anxiety to get a standing shot I fired
wildly and missed, while the antelope broke in every direction at the
report of my rifle. W T e tried again and again, but never got another
chance like that,
42 ANTELOPE SHOOTING IN MONGOLIA.
My second meeting with antelope was even more disappointing
for though I succeeded in bowling over a nice buck! at about tlhree
hundred yards range, it got up and made off before we could reach
it. I had hit, it in the flank, but though we trailed it; for 3 several hours
it finally escaped us altogether in some broken country.
It was not till I got into Mongolia itself that I had any luck with
these animals. An account of some of my experiences then will serve
to show just what the sport is like.
Accompanied by Mr. F. W. Warrington, who was acting as my
assistant, I left Kalgan and took the outer road towards Lama Miao.
On our third day out, not more than fifty miles from our starting
point, we ran into the first herd of antelopes, and at once went after
them. They were feeding upon the side of a hill, so we made a detour
till we got behind another hill opposite to that on which the buck were.
Leaving our ponies with the attendant we crept up to the top of the
ridge, but, found that the buck were still too far off. Back to the ponies
and round another hill we went. This time we reached a point, as
we thought, within two hundred yards of our quarry. We each chose
an antelope and fired. Our bullets fell short, and the next instant the
whole herd was across the ridge and out of sight. On our way back
to the road we came across three more; buck, but though we tried hard
did not succeed in getting another standing shot. That afternoon we
saw another three with nice heads. These kept running parallel with
our course for three or four miles but. did not come within range. Next
morning we passed several pairs without, however, getting a decent
chance at them* The following day Warrington got his first antelope,
while I had the misfortune to wound one which got away in spite of our
utmost endeavour to run it down and secure it.
At one place we stayed for a couple of days simply to hunt
antelopes, and succeeded in getting several head. It was always the
same tale ; either a lucky long shot on the plain or a surprise as one
topped one of the numerous low ridges. It was splendid sport, but
was a severe strain on the ponies, so that we could not keep it up
too long, and if we did not succeed in getting a buck out of the first
herd or two would have to give it up for the day.
When within two day's journey of Lama Miao we ran into an
enormous herd that must have contained from five hundred to one
thousand head. It was a sight never to be forgotten, to see the whole
plain moving as it were. T!he antelopes were very shy, and
we could not get within four hundred yards of them. We succeeded
in bagging a couple, however, by which time it was getting late and
ANTELOPE SHOOTING IN MONGOLIA. 43
we had to hurry on after our carts, or run the risk of losing them for
When we got to Tabool, a place about one hundred miles north
of Kalgan we stopped for a fortnight, and got in some good days after
the antelopes. We were very kindly supplied with fresh mounts, a
thing we very seriously needed by now, and were also put up and
royally entertained by a well known missionary and his devoted wife.
Altogether we got five antelopes while in this district. Our mode
of procedure was to ride out. to the herd of ponies and there change
our mounts for fresh ones. Then we would set out for one or other
of the groups of hills that lay along the horizon. Reaching these,
generally by midforenoon, we would climb ridge after ridge till we
spotted a herd of buck. It may be explained that the bucks with the
best heads were always to be found in twos and threes amongst the
hills. Having located our quarry, we would take careful note of the
lie of the land and the direction in which the antelopes were moving,
We would then get out of sigfht behind the ridge and attempt to work
round to some point of vantage. It was no easy task to decide which
was the particular knoll that one had noted so carefully before, and
we would frequently be disappointed in not getting within easy range
of the animals. Still, when we did succeed in stalking and bringing
down a nice buck it made up for a lot.
My best head I secured after riding a couple of buck down, by
taking full advantage of the rolling nature of the plain and urging my
pony to its utmost speed each time they disappeared into a hollow,
and slacking into a trot each time they reappeared. In this way I
gradually decreased the distance between them and me, and, when they
were within range, jumped off my pony and took a quick successful
The beauty of this sport was that one never need give up hope
of getting a shot, even when one had turned one's pony towards camp;
for at any moment a buck might spring up from the long grass and
stand a few seconds ere it broke away. Sometimes a herd would
come sweeping by in full flight from some danger in its rear. At such
times one might get several shots in before the antelopes realized that
a new danger threatened them.
Our host', who had spent the best part of fifteen years in the
district, had many interesting anecdotes to tell, and certainly, con-
sidering the number of antelopes we saw in the vicinity of his bung-
alow he would have plenty of opportunity of becoming an expert with
the rifle. His best performance was getting three bucks out of a small
44 ANTELOPE SHOOTING IN MONGOLIA.
bunch of four, which he bagged with three successive shots, missing
the fourth as it doubled round a spur. Indeed his fame as a hunter
was great amongst the neighbouring Mongols, who were themselves
anything but poor at the sport.
The most accessible place for antelopes for Tientsin sportsmen
is anywhere north from Kalgan, when they will come across them
within thirty miles of the outer loop of the Great Wall. Autumn
and spring would be the times to hunt these animals, for the winter
is just a bit too severe. Still it could be managed in winter, if the
sportsman were to buy a couple of large camel carts, which he could
use instead of tents, only riding on his pony during the day and when
after the antelopes. He would also get some good sand-grouse and
hare shooting, so that a few weeks might thus be very profitably spent.
For outfit it would be best to carry kerosene oil and a couple of
primus stoves, plenty of flour, beans and potatoes, some good warm
clothes and a fur sleeping bag.
The following tips may be found useful in shooting antelopes.
As already stated the best bucks are to be found in the hills, wheru
also, they may be more easily stalked than on the open plain. They
have very keen eyesight, so that it is hopeless to approach them
without cover. Their hearing and sense of smell does not seem to be
so good as in many animals of their kind, but one should be as silent
as possible, and should approach the quarry up wind as matters of
principle. Except when they are very close always allow for their
being at a greater range than estimated; though of course as one gets
more used to conditions one will judge the range more accurately.
As the antelopes are very inquisitive they may be enticed to approach
nearer by lying in the grass and waving a white rag. Tibey almost
invariably run round one in a big circle, as though they felt that one
were trying to cut them off from some safe refuge. Advantage may
be taken of this to get a couple of hundred yards nearer to tihie antelope
by riding across the circle thus executed. When it is known that an
antelope has been wounded it should never be chased, but allowed
to lie down and stiffen. It will not go far unless pursued.
FUR BEARING MAMMALS.
As most people are more or less interested in furs, it is not un-
natural that they should wish to know something of the animals from
which they are taken. One is often asked questions concerning the
furs that people are wearing, and not infrequently, to avoid giving, of-
fence, one has either to dissemble in naming them, or profess ignorance
on the subject. As a matter of fact in no line of goods is so
much deception practised as in furs. There are, of course, plenty of
reputable retailers, who can be trusted to supply the genuine article.
As a> rule the more expensive furs offered for sale are genuine enough,
for a person who proposes laying out a large sum in this manner, is
usually pretty careful what he buys. It is when one comes down
to the cheaper furs that the most flagrant, frauds are encountered, as
for instance the threading of white hairs into the skin of an ordinary
red fox dyed black to imitate that of the silver fox, or the passing off
of furs made up from the skins of common animals as mink, martan
and even sable.
I do not, however, propose to go into these deceptions, but rather
intend to describe the real animals, and leave my fair readers to draw
their own conclusions as to the genuineness of their furs and muffs.
It would be much too lengthy a task to describe all the fur pro-
ducing animals of the world, so I am going to limit my subjectj to
the fur bearing animals of North China and the adjoining territories.
These come under two headings; namely, those whose skins are
used for rugs, and those whose pelts, as they are usually called by
the trapper, are used for articles of apparel.
The first heading includes mostly large and well known animals,
chief amongst which is the Siberian tiger (Felts tigris longipilis). This
animal is probably the largest of its kind, some really enormous skins
having been secured itoin Manchuria, its true home. It is a very
46 FUK BEAKING MAMMALS.
different animal from t-hat found in South China. In colour it is lighter
than the other known races, but it is chiefly characterized by its very
thick, almost woolly coat, which makes its skin so valuable. I saw
one skin marked up at Tls. 400.00 in Moukden. It has long been a
question whether tigers really exist in North China. From evidence,
which I have gathered on the subject, I am satisfied that they do
occur in West and North Shansi, and at least, did occur up till
quite recently in North Chihli and across the Mongolian border in
the Wei-chang (Hunting grounds), west of Lama Miao.
In Manchuria and North Corea they are comparatively plentiful,
though they are not easily secured on account of their keeping to the
dense forest regions. The natives hunt them persistently, for a single
tiger is worth a great deal of money. Not only is the skin pf value,
but th<e bones fetch a high price as medicine. The tigers are trapped
in big log pens or else shot, the hunter frequently being armed with no
better weapon than an old gas-pipe muzzle-loader. Very often serious
accidents are the result of this dangerous pursuit.
Two other members of the genus Felis, whose skins make hand-
some rugs are the leopard (Felis pardus villosd) and the snow leopard
or ounce (Felis undo). Of these the first is found all over the hilly
and mountainous districts of North China, being very plentiful in
certain of the wilder regions. It has much longer fur than the leopards
found in India, a good winter coat having hairs fully three inches in
length. It is of a fine yellow-brown colour, strongly marked with
black dots, which assume the form of large rosettes on the flanks and
back. The fur of the throat, neck, chest, belly and on the inner
surface of the legs is white. The tail in winter specimens is often
white for the latter half of its length, and is marked with broad black
rings. The North China species is a large animal, usually exceeding
those seen in travelling menageries, which are almost invariably either
from India or Africa. Many specimens taken in winter are so light
coloured and have such thick fur that they might easily be mistaken
for the snow leopard.
The ounce, however, has the black markings in the form of large
rings instead of dots or rosettes. They are not nearly so pronounced
as the markings of the leopard, while the fur of the back and sides
is of a very pale fawn-yellow. The skin is also very much
more valuable. The two animals are about the same size. The ounce
is found in Thibet,, the higher parts of the extreme western border of
China, throughout the Altai Mountains, across Southern Siberia and
in North Manchuria.
FUR BEARING MAMMALS. 47
The next rug producing animal is the wolf, which is represented
in China by the subspecies Canis lupus tschiliensis. This is a large
gaunt creature, which does not pack like the Russian wolf, preferring
to range the country alone, or in company with its mate. In size it
about equals a mastiff or deer-hound. Though a powerful and cunning
animal, it is inclined to be cowardly, and secures its food, especially
in thickly populated areas, by snatching off sheep, small pigs, dogs
and even children straying on the outskirts of the villages. When
pressed by hunger, it will attack a grown man, even if the latter be
armed. In some districts wolves are a great pest, and there are very
few places entirely free from them. The skin of the North China wolf
is not very good, being worth not more than $5.00 or $6.00. The
skins from Mongolia, which have much thicker fur, and are considerably
lighter in colour, are worth at least double that sum. All kinds of
practices are resorted to in the hunting of wolves. Poison, guns and
trap-guns are all used, while many hunters, who know the habits of
their quarry, lie in ambush and shoot them along their chosen paths.
Perhaps of all rugs none look so well as those made from the
skin of a bear, with the head nicely mounted and claws outspread
complete. Unfortunately North China cannot lay claim to being a
bear country, thought there are three or four species recorded from
adjacent districts, some of which may wander into or even take up
their residence hi Chinese territory. On the Thibetan frontier there
are at least three species to be met with. One of these is the com-
mon brown bear (Ursus. arctos), which ranges from Spain to Kams-
chatka. Bears of this species attain a great size, even rivalling the
grizzly or the polar bear. Another common species in this region is
the Himalayan black bear (Ursus torquatus), a much smaller animal.
As the name suggests this species is black but it has a conspicuous
white crescent on its chest. The third species is the parti-coloured
bear (Aeluropus melanoleucus) sometimes known as the great, panda.
This queer looking animal, though a bear in appearance, differs from
the members of the genus Ursus in many ways. Its skull is remark-
able for a very high ridge running longitudinally along the upper sur
face of the cranium. There are also marked dental differences, and
the width of the skull is proportionately much greater than in the true
bears. The colouring of the panda is also very remarkable. The body
and head are white, the legs and belly black, while a black band ex-
tends from the front legs over the shoulders. The ears are black and
there is a large black patch round each eye. These animals are very
rare in collections, and are not at all easy to secure. Practically no-
thing is known of their habits.
48 FUE BEARING MAMMALS.
In Manchuria there is a black bear that is very common. It
closely resembles the Himalayan black bear, but' differs in having a
white chin. The natives say that there is another kind with a broad
band of white or grey over the shoulders. I am told that this is also
the case on the Thibetan frontier, but. am inclined to think that they
are only variations of the black bears.
From the bears to the badger, the next, animal we have to con-
sider, is not a far cry. The skin of this animal is too thick, and the
hairs too 1 stiff for it to be used except in rugs, and in the manufacture
of shaving brushes. A nice badger skin rug is very pretty, but it is
of more value to the Chinese than to Europeans, the former appreciat-
ing its damp resisting qualities. They use it to spread on their brick
hangs or in carts. The Manchurian hunters all wear nicely dressed
badger skins hanging from their belts at the back, in which position
they are always ready to form a dry seat. There are several species
of badger found in China, at least four of which are recorded from
The commonest, and most widely distributed species is Meles
leptorhynchus , originally described from Peking. It has also been
recorded from North Shensi, and I have seen specimens from Shansi
as well. Two other species of this genus are recorded from further
west. These are M. hanensis and M. siningensis, and they differ but
slightly from the Peking form. A fourth species, belonging to the
badger family is the sand-badger (Arctonyx leucolcemus) , also from
Peking. The members of this genus differ from those of the preceeding
one in having very much longer tails, and in walking more on their
toes than on the flat of the foot. They have longer snouts and there
are distinct skull differences. A subspecies has recently been des-
cribed from South Shensi under the name of A. I. arestes.
Under our present heading I must briefly mention the names of
two, ruminants, whose skins are used as rugs. These are the goral
and the antelope. The skin of the latter are even used to make clothes
by the Chinese along the Mongolian border. As I am dealing with
these animals elsewhere I need not describe them here.
Under our second heading, which includes those animals whose
skins are used as articles of apparel, we have to consider a number
of species belonging to widely differing genera.
If these are taken in the order of their respective importance as
fur producers, the weasel family must, come first. Of the members
o this large family the sable (Maries zibellina) is certainly the most
valuable. This pretty creature is closely related to the pine-marten,
the only apparent difference being in its having longer and softer fur.
PUB BEARING MAMMALS. 49
The colour of the sable varies from blackish-brown to chocolate and
even grey-brown. The under fur is usually grey. There is an orange-
yellow patch on the throat. ' The sable is found in Siberia and Man-
churia. The so-called Sze-chuan sable is really the pine-marten (M.
martes), which is also found in Manchuria. The maximum value of
a single sable skin is 25, while that of a marten seldom reaches 5.
The next species of importance is the stoat or ermine (Mustela
erminea), which certainly used to inhabit North Ghana, and probably
may still be found in some districts. These animals are so shy, and so
purely nocturnal in their habits that they may easily be in a district
without its being known to the inhabitants. The ermine is really little
more than a large weasel, and it is only valuable when in its winter coat.
The summer pelt is of a rich chocol'ate-brown with sulphur-yellow
underparts. The hair is not long, but is beautifully soft.
I have recently secured a fine specimen of a stone or beech marten
(Martes /oma), which has a very beautiful fur, almost rivalling that
of the sable. It is an inhabitant of the mountainous regions of North
Shansi, and is comparatively rare. The fur is of a fine grey-brown
colour on the outside, the under fur being almost white. The tail
is long and very bushy. There is a white patch on the throat, and
white tips to the ears. The Chinese name is Sao-shueh.
The Chinese minks are not^early so valuable as their European and
North American cousins (Mustela lutreola and M. vison). Of these two
the latter is the more valuable. Minks are found in Tientsin, the local
species being known as M. davidiana. The Shansi and Shensi forms
are referrable to M. sibirica. In Shansi a very much smaller species
also exists, which is closely related to M. astuta. The latter
occurs in Western Kansu and in Thibet. Minks are always
more plentiful round marshes. Their skins are exported in great num-
bers under the name of weasel. The colour is a fine orange-buff in-
clined to chestnut. It is much lighter than that of the American
In connection with this subject it would be as well to mention
a few other members of the weasel family found in North China, though
their fur is of little value. Commonest of these is the yellow throated
marten (Martes flavigula borealis). This is much the larg-est of the Chi-
nese weasels, exceeding a full grown cat in size. It has a very long tail.
In colour it is of a grey-brown above with black head, tail, legs and belly.
It has a large bright, yellow patch on the throat, which in some specimens
continues in a yellow-grey band right round the neck. The fur is coarse
and not very long. Of a fierce and blood-thirsty disposition, this
50 FUH BEARING MAMMALS,
marten commits serious depredations in the poultry yards of
the districts it frequents. It is common in all mountainous and loess
regions, especially in North Shensi.
The next species is the polecat which is found from Shansi west-
ward. The colour of this animal varies considerably according to
the season. In summer it is of a rich brown, the hairs being much
lighter at the base than the tip. In winter the fur changes till it-
is almost white, and only the tips of the longest hairs retain their
dark brown or black. The face has a broad black band across the
eyes, the nose and upper part of the head being white. The ears are
black with white tips. These animals, being easily tamed, are used
for ratting by the Chinese. Two species occur in North China, namely,
Mustela larvata from Kansu and M. tiarata from West and North
Shansi. The Chinese name is* Sao hu-tze, (Ermine fox).
Another most interesting animal, related to polecat is the vormela
(Vormela neyans), which was discovered by me on the borders of the
Ordos Desert. The species is remarkable for its colouring. The head
is banded with black and white; the nape is pale-yellow with brown
markings. The yellow colour extends along the back, getting richer
till it merges into orange on the flanks and rump. The whole is
spotted with brown. The throat, belly and legs are of a shiny black.
The tail is long and of a yellow colour, being black at the
tip. The ears are tufted and are white in colour. This peculiar
animal inhabits the sandy Ordos Desert, its range probably extending
westward into Central Asia, where it is replaced by the only other
known species Vormela peregusna.
One other member of this family should be mentioned, namely
the weasel itself (Mustela sp. incon.). I have known of its existence
in North China for years, but have hitherto been unable to secure a
specimen. Last summer I got, one specimen in Manchuria, and I hava
seen others from Sze-chuan. The Manchurian specimen is of a rich
chocolate colour above and pure white beneath ; those from Sze-chuan
are chocolate above and pinkish-buff below. These creatures are much
the smallest' of the Chinese mustelines, being only seven or eight
inches in length, and very slender in shape. They frequent woody
areas, and are apparently very rare.
The wolverine (Gulo lusc,us) is another member of the weasel
family, whose pelt has a good market value. This animal is not at
all like any of the weasels in appearance. It is about the size of a bull-
dog, is very heavily and powerful built, and is extremely savage and
FUK BEAEING MAMMALS. 51
voracious. The fur is long, thick and soft, and of a pretty brown
colour. The glutton, as it is more often called, is not/ found in China,
but occurs in Manchuria and Northern Mongolia.
Lastly there is the otter (Lutra sp. incon.), which is found in
Kansu, South Shensi and Manchuria. The fur of this animal is very
valuable, and compares favourably with those from other countries.
The otter is top well known to need description.
The cat tribe is not well represented in North China, though the
few species that do occur all yield good furs. The best of these is the
isabelline lynx (Felis isabellina), which is found on the Thibetan
frontier. The fur of this animal is of a fine fawn-grey or grey-brown
colour, and is thick and soft. A good lynx skin fetches Tls. 9.00 in
Lan-chow Fu, but it is worth much more in the European market.
The lynx is a savage cat-like animal, characterized by having
tufts of hair at the tips of the ears, and long hair depending from
either cheek like side- whiskers. It has a short tail, from which fact
it gets its American name of bob-cat. It has enormous soft paws,
and rather long hind legs, which makes it stand high in the stern.
The lynx is also found in Northern Mongolia and on the Siberian
The spotted cat (Felis chinensis) is another animal which yields
a good pelt. The fur of this cat is soft, and silky and of a fawn-grey
colour. It is covered all over with dark brown spots, giving it the
appearance of a miniature leopard's skin. The tail is thick and an-
nulated with black.
A cat, closely related to this species is the manul (Felis manul)
from Mongolia. It differs in having hardly any spots. It occurs in
North Chihli and North Shansi.
The common wild cat (Felis cattus) is also found in China. Its
pelt is exactly like that of a good grey tabby, which animal it most
resembles. It is slightly larger, however, and has a considerably
The next species is so important that a complete paper might be
devoted to it. I refer to the common fox (Vulpes vulpes), which
ranges from the west of Europe to the East of Asia. Probably more
fox skins, are sent out of Tientsin than of any other wild animal. The
Chinese also value them highly, for, as every one knows, they make
excellent fur coats. There is no part of North China where foxes are
not found. A fox with a much darker fur is found in Manchuria,
while a small species (Cam's corsac) with soft yellow-grey fur comes
from Outer Mongolia and Chinese Turkestan. Still further north occurs
52 FUK BEARING MAMMALS.
the Arctic fox (Canis lagopus), from which the valuable white skins are
As far as I know there is no export trade in mole skins from
North China. This is doubtless due to the great scarcity of moles
Three species belonging to the genus Scaptochirus are recorded from
North China, but these animals are nowhere common.
Judging from the great number of rodents found in the country,
one might reasonably expect to find that at least some of them yielded
valuable furs. As a matter of fact the marmot (Marmotd robusta) and
the grey squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) are the only two rodents in North
China, which have valuable pelts, and these only occur in the extreme
west, along the frontier of Thibet and Chinese Turkestan, and in Man-
churia and Eastern Mongolia. There are a great many varieties of
the grey or fur squirrel. They range in colour from red to dark grey.
In many districts they are red in summer and grey in winter. The
common squirrel of Great Britain belongs to this species.
The marmot is a very large member of its genus. The Chinsse
name is Ta la, or Han ta (Lit. Land otter), and in East Mongolia
Tarabagan. I am told that far fewer marmot skins reach Tientsin
now than formerly. It was this animal that was credited with spread-
ing the pneumonic plague, through the agency of its fleas, as is the
case with the common rat in Bombay and elsewhere. This may
account for the falling off in the numbers of skins on the market.
UNDER the heading of Insectivorous Mammals we have to con-
sider a few animals belonging to the two orders Chiroptera and
Insectivora. The first of these includes the bats; the second such
small insect-eating animals as the shrews, moles and hedgehogs.
There are a great many different kinds of bats, ranging from the
large fruit bats or flying foxes of tropical climes to the little pipistrelles
and miniopteras of more temperate regions. Some are very beautiful
creatures, while others, such as the naked bat and the hammer-headed
bat, even the most, ardent adorers of nature's creations could only des-
cribe as loathsomely hideous. Indeed, to many people, especially to
the members of the fair sex, there is something indescribably obnoxious
and terrifying in the most harmless species of this great group of highly
developed and specialized mammals. This is doubtless due to the fact
tli at certain South American species of bats subsist upon the blood of
other mammals, being, literally blood-suckers. These have been called
vampires, a name which at once calls up stories of horrible blood-sucking
phantoms belonging to the superstitious myths of our forefathers of the
German Forests. Then, too, the facts that evil spirits in European
legendry are nearly always depicted as having bat's wings, and also that
the habits of the bat are nocturnal, have tended to class it along with
owls, black cats, toads and ravens as a creature of darkness. In our
childhood's fancies it belongs to the world of sprites and hobgoblins, and
it would seem that many of us never entirely outgrow our dislike for
these harmless little animals.
It is strange, too, that the Chinese look upon the bat as a thing of
evil. They say it has an evil spirit, and never lose an opportunity of sub-
jecting it to cruel torture.
As a matter of fact there are few animals that are prettier to watch
or that make more interesting pets than bats. There is so much that, is
wonclorful about them. They seem to have a sixth sense that warns them
when they are in the vicinity of any object, for in a room full of ornaments
54 INSECTIVOROUS MAMMALS.
and bric-a-brac, even in daylight when they are practically blind, they
c:vn flitter about without so much as brushing a single article with their
outspread wings. And what a wonderful membrane it is that stretches
over, those long bony fingers \ Then there is a lot of profitable study
awaiting the investigator into the problems of migration, hibernation,
the varying altitudes at which different species feed, and the hours of
the night, during which they are abroad.
Who amongst true nature lovers has not sat in the cool of a sum-
mer evening, and watched with untold delight the marvellous evolu-
tions, circlings, turns, dives and soarings of bats in the gathering
gloom? Who has not wondered at that high pitched squeak? It is
a fact that the voices of some bats are so high that no human ear 13
attuned to a sufficiently high pitch to catch' the sound, just as amongst
some frogs the croak is so far down the scale, that when they ere
placed in a bottle one may feel the vibrations without hearing any
Then, too, how interesting to see the mother carrying her baby
about with her, the little helpless thing knowing only enough to cling
to the soft fur of her breast.
Altogether there are some five or six species of bats described
from North China, though a great many more are to be found in the
central and southern provinces of this country.
Over the greater part, of the north only three species are at all
common. These are the serotine (Eptesicus serotinus pallens) and two
other small species known as Miniopterus schreibersi chinensis and
Myotis (Leuconae) pequinius.
Of these the serotine is by far the commonest. It is the largest
bat found in North China. It may be seen everywhere during the
warmer months, but is most plentiful in the higher country westward
from the border of Chihli. It is of a brown colour, having none of the
peculiar membranous nose-leaves and facial decorations characteristic
of so many bats. The sub-species was described as new from specimens
taken by me while on the Clark Expedition in Kansu. It differs from
the European form in being! of a distinctly lighter colour, with a longer
forearm and a shorter, broader skull. It hides during the day in loess
cliffs, coming out in the evenings to feed, flying at comparatively great
Miniopterus schreibersi chinensis was first described from speci-
mens taken in some caves in the mountains west of Peking, where it
THE KANSU POLECAT. (Must el a larvatd).
Photo by Captain T. Holconib.
NORTH SHAN si HARES. (Lepus siuinhvei sowerbyae).
INSECTIVOROUS MAMMALS. 55
was found in great numbers. This bat is somewhat smaller than the
foregoing species, but in other external characteristics is very similar.
It is darker in colour, however. Being exceedingly plentiful in Tien-
tsin, it may be seen any evening from early spring till late in the
autumn. It is the commonest species in these parts.
Myotis (Leuconae) pequinius was described from exactly the same
locality as the foregoing species, having been taken in fact, at the same
time. This is a bat of a grey coloun, also without .any facial frillings.
It occurs all over North China, especially in the more mountainous
When in Kansu I secured specimens of a very small bat, which
was identified as belonging to the genus Pipistrellus, though its species
was not determined. It was of a dark colour and had no facial mem-
Besides these more or less common forms, we have in Chihli a
horse-shoe bat (RMnolophus fenum-equinum nippon). Its name is
derived from the peculiar membranous nose-leaf, which is roughly the
shape of a horse's shoe. In England the horse-shoe bat is compara-
tively common, but its eastern representative seems to be rather rare,
at least in North China. The same species occurs in Japan, where it
seems to be more plentiful. In size it about equals the serotine, but
is somewhat lighter in colour.
The long-eared bat (Plecotus sp.) is also to be found, though it seems
to be rather rare. I have only seen one, and that was in Shansi.
Whether the species found in North China is identical with Plecotus
ariel, recently described from Szechuan I cannot say.
One other bat, of which I have seen but one specimen, and the
name of which I do not know, is worthy of notice. This is a large
bat with a peculiar orange-yellow coat. It occurs in Shansi, but seems
to be very rare. Except for the remarkable colouring it is not unlike
It is more than likely that there are other species, hitherto un-
known to science, occurring in North China. The order is one of the
least known in this country, owing, doubtless, to the difficulty experi-
enced by collectors in securing even such specimens as they see.
The order Insectivora is very poorly represented in North China.
This is doubtless due to the general dryness of the climate, for in the
neighbouring regions of Central and West China, Manchuria and
Japan, where there is an abundance of rain, and where, in consequence,
such lower forms of life as worms, snails and insect larvae are very
plentiful, there is a great variety of shrews, moles and other related
58 INSECTIVOROUS MAMMALS.
Such forms, as are found in the districts which come under cur
heading, have evidently become adapted to a dry climate and surround-
ings, some being found even in such places as the Ordos Desert.
One of the animals, best known to every English school boy is the
hedgehog. Probably most of us have kept one or more of these in-
teresting creatures in captivity at some time or other. In North China
there are some four species described, being found in very widely sep-
arated areas. In Tientsin and on the Chihli plain generally occurs a
hedgehog, which in general appearance closely resembles that of Europe.
The two are about equal in size. The Chihli species was first described
under the name of Erinaceus dealbatus by Swinhoe from a specimen
from Peking. Amongst other characteristics it has a certain proportion
of wholly white spines. The same species occurs in Northern Shan-
tung, though by one observer the animal from this district was des-
cribed as distinct.
Hitherto no hedgehog has been described from Shansi, but across
the Yellow River in Shensi and the Ordos two species occur. Of these
the Ordos form), E. miodon was described from specimens secured by
M. P. Anderson and myself in 1908. The chief distinguishing features
of this species are some dental differences, and the fact that there are
no wholly white spines present. This hedgehog is fairly common in
the sandy areas, where it feeds upon black-beetles, as shown by the
examination of the stomachs of several specimens.
From the Ordos Border to the Wei Valley the hedgehog is again
wanting, but in the latter district it reappears under the name of E.
hughi. This species is very much darker in colour than the Ordos form,
a characteristic that one might expect, considering the different sur-
E. hanensis is another species described by Matschie from some-
where in this direction. It has a fair sprinkling of wholly white spines.
When in Manchuria I secured a hedgehog, doubtless E. orien-
talis, in the forests on the banks of the Sungaree River. This specimen
had a good proportion of wholly white spines.
It. might be imagined that so prickly a customer as the hedgehog
could have but few enemies, but judging from the number of remains
I have found, it would seem that it has a good many. It is well known
that a fox will tackle and kill a hedgehog. In so doing he pushes his
nose under the hedgehog and tosses it into the air. This makes the
hedgehog uncurl, and, before it can curl up again, the fox has nipped it
in the unprotected vitals. In Europe the gypsies are notoriously fond
of hedgehog flesh. I found this to be the case with the woodsmen in
Manchuria. In both cases the animal is prepared for food by encasing
INSECTIVOROUS MAMMALS. 57
it in a coating of mud and baking it in the embers of a wood fire. When
done the spines, hair and skin adhere to the clay, leaving a very tooth-
some morsel of beautifully cooked meat.
In Chihli hedgehogs are looked upon as sacred animals by the
Chinese, and so are not molested. On the contrary, little shrines
are often built for them.
In the matter of shrews these provinces are excessively poorly
represented, at least very few specimens have been recorded. In Chihli
two species have been found. These are Corcidura coreoe and Chod-
sigoa hypsibia. Members of the genus Crocidura may easily by recog-
nized from the fact that the tails, besides having the usual covering
of very short hairs, also have a sprinkling of long stiff ones. The other
genera of shrews have only the short hairs. The Crocidurce are further
distinguishable by the presence of glands, one on each side of the body,
which are more or less odoriferous and probably give these animals their
name of musk shrews.
THE MUSKSHREW (Crocidura coreae').
Crocidura coreae as yet has not been definitely located in any
other part of North China than Chihli, in which province a specimen
was taken at the Eastern Tombs. It was originally described from
Corea. Three young shrews secured by me in Shansi have been re-
ferred to this species, but their age render the diagnosis uncertain.
My specimens were of a distinct slate-grey, while C. coreae was describ-
ed as greyish-brown. Age would of course account for this difference.
Chodsigoa hypsibia was originally described as Soriculus hypsibia
from North-western Szechuan. Whether a shrew, the remains of
which I found on a rock in West Shansi is referrable to this species
or not I could not say. They were too far decomposed to preserve.
In the extreme south-western portion of Kansu, bordering the
richly faunistic area of Western Szechuan, Milne-Edwards' little shrew
Crocidura attenuata occurs, having been but recently recorded. Here
also a new species belonging to the genus Sorex has been discovered
recently. This is Sorex wardi, which was named in honour of its
58 INSECTIVOROUS MAMMALS.
discoverer. It is closely related to S. cylindricauda from .Szechuan,
which is remarkable in having a black stripe down the back. /S.
wardi has this stripe, but it is not so distinct.
S. sinalis and S. cansulus are other recent discoveries in these
parts, as also are Chodsigoa lamula and Blarinella grisella.
Milne-Edwards described a watershrew from Eastern Thibet, not
far from this same district, but so far nothing of the kind has been
found in North China.
In Manchuria last summer I secured specimens of a large black
musk-shrew, belonging to the genus Crocidura. The scent glands on
the side of the body were very pronounced, while the odour from the
shrew, which, as far as I could make out, emanated from these glands,
was very strong. I could detect it some yards away. There is some
question as to whether this strong odour is protective, and in this con-
nection I can only quote from the natives. They told me in the dis-
trict where I trapped the specimens that cats would not touch these
shrews, while one man volunteered the information that in a certain
valley not far from this vicinity, the settlers could not keep any cats,
because they would kill and eat these shrews and get poisoned. The
two statements somewhat conflict but I am inclined to place credence
in the former, as a cat belonging to a neighbouring farmer continually
brought in voles and mice, but never once brought in a shrew, though
she hunted in exactly the spots where I trapped my specimens. The
mortality amongst the cats of the neighbouring valley was probably
due to some other cause.
THE MOLE (ScaptochiruB gilliesi).
As. far as I can gather only four species of moles have been des-
cribed from the whole of North 1 China. Three of these belong 1 to thfe
genus Scaptochirus. The largest is 8. Upturns first described from
Peking. This mole is peculiar chiefly on account of the tail, which is
club-shaped and almost bare. In external appearance it resembles the
common British species, except that the fur is greyer.
INSECTIVOROUS MAMMALS. 59
The second species occurs in Mongolia and is called 8. moachatus,
while the third /S. gilliesi was recently described as new
from a specimen from South Shansi. Previous to this I had
secured a specimen in Tai-yuan Fu, and another on the
Ordos Border. Subsequently I secured several specimens from
Western Shansi. It seems to have adapted itself to an existence under
more or less desert conditions, in which there certainly cannot be any
abundance of worms. It must therefore live upon beetle larvae or some
such food. The fourth species belongs to a new genus, discovered on
the Fenwick-Owen expedition in South- Western Kansu. This is
Scapanulus oweni, a rather small 'mole, resembling none of the other
species found in China. In Manchuria, Corea, Japan and Central and
Western China moles of many genera and species are very plentiful.
IN flat country like that around Tientsin and Peking many sports-
men consider it almost a sin to shoot hares, for they offer so much
better sport when pursued on horse-back with greyhounds. Still there
is something to be said for the shooting of hares by the man who
cannot afford to keep ponies and hounds. From a purely humanitarian
point of view shooting hares might be preferred to chasing them.
However, I do not wish to turn this paper into a discussion upon the
rival merits of the two sports, so shall do no more than describe both.
First, however, it would be well to describe the species and sub-
species of the genus Lepus. The hare found round Shanghai is known
as Lepus sinensis. Recently a new species has been described from
Northern Kiangsi under the name of Lepus aurigineus. Which of
these two species inhabits Anhui and South Shantung has not been
determined, but the hare from these parts certainly differs from that
found in North Shantung, and Chihli, which is known, as Lepus
In North Szechuan and in Kansu another species is found, namely
Lepus sechuenensis ; while the hare of Shensi and the Ordos is a
subspecies of the Shantung hare, called Lepus swinhoei subluteus.
In Shansi the genus is represented by another subspecies which was
called Lepus swinhoei soweTbyas in honour of my wife, who accom-
panied me on the journey during which this new variety was discovered.
The hare of South Mongolia is known as Lepus tolai, which is replaced
in the Altai Mountains by yet another species called Lepus quercus.
The European hare is known as Lepus europ&us, and is identical
with the common English form. The Scotch, or mountain hare,
which turns white in winter is classed as a distinct species under the
name of Lepus variabilis. The hares in Ireland belong to either one
or the other of these last two species.
This is a jaw breaking list for the ordinary reader to wade through
jand my advice to him is, forget it I The uninitiated would find it
THE HARE 61
hard indeed to distinguish between any of these species, the varia-
tions being only such as a Zoologist would appreciate. From a sport-
ing point of view they are all alike. They all run in the same way,
dodge about in the underbrush, or sit tight, letting the sportsman step
right over them without moving.
Hare shooting under ordinary conditions is liable to prove some-
what tame sport. Compared with almost any bird on the wing a
hare running in the open offers an easy mark. It seldom breaks cover
out of easy range, and is also very easily killed or disabled. It is
only where there is plenty of thick cover, or in very rough or moun-
tainous country that the sport really begins to get interesting. Then
it is that the hare shows to advantage its wonderful dodging powers,
so that frequently even good sEots are beaten. With its sharp, sud-
den turns, short, quick leaps over, and dives under the scrub it
presents a very baffling mark.
Like the partridge the hare, in China at least, is usually taken,
as chance offers, in the chase of other game. It invariably abounds
in good pheasant country and forms a pleasant diversion by getting
up in all sorts of unexpected places.
An interesting method of hunting the hare in flat country is to
shoot it from horseback. This gives it a better chance, and also
allows of a good cross country run, for the hare, if missed once, can
be followed and put up again and again. We used frequently to
practice this sport on the Tai-yuan Fu plain, as no one was fortunate
enough to own any hounds.
One hare, which we named Lucky Alphonso because he always
escaped us, once gave me a splendid run. A party of us put him
up in the usual grass patch that he occupied. We missed him as usual
and then set out after him, as he raced away over the ploughed fields.
A flock of geese attracted the attentions of my companions, who gave
up the chase, but Alphonso had eluded me so often that I was deter-
mined to get him. He entered a kaoliang patch, from which I drove
him. In another half mile he sought the refuge of some
low sage brush, but again I got him going. Once more he
found cover, and was driven out. This time he headed straight for
the river and dived in. Next moment I saw his head above the eddies
as he bravely swam for the opposite shore. I rode up to the bank
and stood watching him. Suddenly, when nearly across, ho changed
his mind, and, turning back, came straight towards me. He reached
the bank, dragged himself out, shook the water from his coat, and
lopped off. I had not the heart to shoot him then, and as far as I
62 THE HABE
know Lucky Alphonso still inhabits the grass patch on the left bank
of the Fen Ho.
As already intimated, coursing after hare with greyhounds is,
to many minds, the most sporting method of hunting them. In com-
pany with a party of fellow devotees one goes out to the appointed
place in a wagonette or by train, as the case may be. Here the
ponies are waiting, and mounting these, the sportsmen spread out in a
line and ride forward. All except two of the hounds are kept in leash
behind the riders. Suddenly a hare jumps up and the two free hounds
give chase. A wild scurry ensues, the riders taking ditches and mounds
as they present themselves, while the hounds and hare stretch out in
a race for life. The latter usually heads for graves, where perchance
it may go to earth in some badger hole, or elude its pursuers by doub-
ling amongst the hommocks. It is the business of the hounds to catch
the hare before it reaches the desired haven. Therein lies the chief
excitement, though the cross country run is liable to prove harrowing
enough, for your China pony does not always take the jump when
he is expected to, and loves nothing better than to dump his rider
into a ditch. To the man with a sense of humour, the antics of the
hounds, when a hare suddenly disappears, will prove very diverting.
The Chihli hare is a fine runner and often escapes its pursuers, so that
general satisfaction follows a pretty kill on the part of the hounds.
Last, but not least, the sumptuous luncheon provided for the
occasion is a very attractive part of the days outing. Some say that
the numerous cocktails indulged in have most to do with the success
of the proceedings, and form the real attraction of the sport. Per-
haps they do to some, but on the whole, a day behind the greyhounds
is well spent, and is as healthy and enjoyable a form of recreation as
Unfortunately this form of sport is not what it used to be to
judge from the accounts of exciting runs and wonderful kills, told by
the old stagers. It is a fact, however, that hares are not nearly so
numerous as they were, and those that remain are both fast and cun-
ning, so that the percentage of kills is very much lower than it was.
The difficulty in securing fresh hounds, and also of keeping in health
those already brought out from home, further tends to prevent the
sport from becoming very universal.
There is one other method of hunting the hare, and that is with
hawks. This is undoubtedly the most sporting of all, though it is
seldom, if ever, practised by Europeans, It used to be very popular
with the Manchus, and is still kept up by Chinese hunters, who find
THE HAEE 63
it an economical way of securing game for the market. Its chief draw-
back is the time and trouble which must be expended in training the
hawks. These must be thoroughly tamed and require attention night
and day. The training takes place at night in a quiet place, where
there are no noises and sights to disturb the birds.
The gerfalcon is the best bird for the pursuit of the hare, though
the goshawk and peregrine falcon may also be used.
When the bird, or birds, are thoroughly trained, a party of half
a dozen beaters, including the owners of the hawks, sally forth into the
fields and drive through the scrub and brush. As soon as a hare
breaks cover one of the hawks is released and thrown into the air.
It has already caught sight of the quarry and with rapid wing-beats
soon overtakes it. Swooping down it deals a blow with its talons (not,
as popularly supposed, with its beak). If this proves insufficient to stun
the hare, it repeats the mano3uvre, or else grasps it and pins it to the
frarth. A good hawk, however, usually kills its quarry at the first
stroke. Then the beaters hurry up in order to prevent the hare's being
torn up, for the hawk has been kept in a state of hunger previous
to being used.
Some hunters use their hawks to chase pheasants and partridges
as well. In these cases the peregrine is the best bird to use.
Hares are prevalent everywhere in North China, though, of course,
they are more plentiful in some places than others. South Mongolia
simply swarms with them, chiefly round the encampments. Some
travellers have put this down to the fact that the camp dogs keep
away wolves and foxes. In my travels in that country I have noticed
that the camps are always pitched, if possible, near streams or lakes
of sweet water. It so happens that these spots afford the only really
good cover in the form of tall thickly growing sedgegrass. It is my
opinion that the hares seek the slielter of this cover rather than
the protection of the camp dogs. Hares are not found round camps
pitched in the open, where there is none of this cover;
while where there is dover of this nature hares are always
present in large numbers camp or no camp. Of course
additional protection is added by the presence of the camp dogs, which
are usually much too slow to catch the hares themselves.
In the Ordos Desert we also found hares extremely plentiful, and
also in North Shansi and Eastern Kansu. They are very numerous
on the plains of Northern and Western Shansi.
The hare does not live in burrows, though in China it may seek
shelter from pursuit in the burrows of badgers and holes in graves.
64 THE HARE
It has what is known as a "form," a little sheltered hollow in which
it lies up. A hare uses the same "form" for a considerable time, and
when put up will invariably return to it, after making a long circuit.
Some will lie very close in these "forms." Once, when out shoot-
ing with my wife on the Tai-yuan plain, I came upon a hare lying in
its "form" in an open field of stubble. Standing right over it I called
my wife and the coolie carrying our cartridges to come and have a look.
The hare remained perfectly still till we had had a good look at it, and
then only ran when I touched it with my foot.
Another incident of a similar nature occurred near the same place
a few days later. Four of us were working through some scrub, look-
ing for quail, partridges and hare. Suddenly one of the coolies called
us back, and pointed to a large hare lying at his feet. This one also
required a touch of the foot before it broke away.
From two to five young are born in a litter, the pretty little crea-
tures being perfect in shape and able to run about at once. Several
litters are produced in a year, and as they may appear very early in
the season and also very late, not infrequently cause searchings of
heart on the part of the sportsman, who inadvertantly shoots a doe
with young. The only way to avoid this is to note carefully before
pulling whether the hare is moving smartly with quick turns and long
jumps, or listlessly with a comparatively slow lopping gait.
In winter hares love warm sunny banks, and will lie out on sparse-
ly covered hill-sides facing south, but in summer they seek the cool
and shelter of the densest thorn scrub; while in cultivated country
they may nearly always be found in the family grave patches that are
scattered amongst the ploughed fields.
They range from sea level up to eight or ten thousand feet, can
withstand extremes of temperature, and find food in the scantiest
harbage of the desert, as easily as in the luxurious vegetation of sub-
tropical forests. They, like all rodents, form what scientists call a
successful race, and will long exist to give sport to the hunter and
joy to the gourmand.
RATS AND MICE.
EVERY one is familiar with the common rat and the equally com-
mon house-mouse, but few realize that these pests have a host of
cousins, some of which are extremely grotesque, others remarkably
graceful, but one and all well worth studying.
Rodentia is the largest mammalian order. It contains the
greatest number of species and individuals. All the members of the
order are characterized by the possession of chisel-like incisor teeth,
two in the upper and two in the lower jaw. There are neither canine
teeth nor premolars, a gap occurring between the two incisors and the
In shape and size there is an infinite variation, though the largest
rodents are the Patagonian cavies, (about the size of a small sheep)
and the carpinchos (about the size of a small hog), also -South American
The order is divided into numerous families, and in a short paper
like this one cannot hope to tackle them all. We will therefore con-
fine our remarks to the mouse-like rodents of North China. Here I
must ask the reader to allow me some laxity in my definition of
North China. Suppose we take the 33rd paralled of latitude as mark-
ing the dividing line between North and Central China. I am forced
to make this very arbitrary division in order to include certain species
which undoubtedly belong to the North China fauna, and yet whose
habitat is rather far south. The Zoologist is continually being faced
with these difficulties in determining the true boundaries of faunistic
areas, for species merge so imperceptibly! into each other, that it is
often quite impossible to state where one ends and the other begins.
This division will give us plenty to think about, as will be seen
before I get to the end of this paper.
Under this heading we have the jerboas (jumping or kangaroo
rats), the gerbils (sand rats), the hamsters (pouched rats), the voles
(field and water rats), the true rats and mice, and the molerats (under-
EATS AND MICE.
Before discussing the jerboas, a small jumping mouse must be men-
tioned. It is called Zapus setchuanus vicinus, and occurs in South-
western Kansu, but so far none have been recorded elsewere in North
China. There are three other species found in Szechuan.
THE ORDOS JERBOA (Dipus sowerbyi).
The most striking jerboa is the Ordos jerboa (Dipus sowerbyi),
which was discovered by me in 1908 in the Ordos Desert, This animal
is about five inches long in the body, and has very long hind legs,
very short front legs and a long tail with a fine tuft ati the tip like
an arrow feather. In colour it is of a sandy yellow with white belly
and rump. Its chief characteristic is that it has only three toes on
the hind foot. It lives in burrows in the sand, progresses by means
of enormous jumps, sometimes eight feet in length, and feeds upon the
seeds and tender shoots of the sage brush. It is easily tamed and
makes a splendid pet, playing and skipping about the room without
the least sign of fear. The Chinese name is Tiao-er (Jumper).
The other species is the alactaga (Alactagn mongolica), which
inhabits Inner Mongolia and parts of North Chihli and Shansi. The
animal is somewhat larger than the Ordos jerboa, has very much longer
ears, is of a greyer colour, and has five instead of three toes on the
hind feet. Otherwise the two species are very much alike, and have
similar habits, except that the alactaga lives in grassy country.
The third form (Alactaga mongolica longior) was discovered by me
in Kansu, and it is a subspecies of that from Mongolia. It differs only
EATS AND MICE. 67
in having a slightly longer ear and a longer hind foot. The Chinese
call these animals Tiao-tu-tzu (Jumping hare), the Mongol name be-
Between the jerboas and our next group comes a rat-like animal
known as Sicista concolor. The only specimens in North China occur
in South-west Kansu.
Closely related to the jerboas come the gerbils or sand rats.
These beautiful little creatures may be found in the sandy deserts of
Asia and Africa, and are characterized by their hairy tails, sandy
colour and big black eyes. They, have large hind feet and can jump
well, though they have not developed along this line nearly as far as
have the jerboas. They live in large colonies, and make extensive
warrens like those of the rabbit.
In China and the adjacent areas of Mongolia there are three
species belonging to this genus. Of these Meriones auceps is the
largest and most handsome. This species is found in Shansi and
Shensi. In colour it is of a rich orange-buff above and white below.
The bushy tail is of a redder colour, the under surface being white in
many individuals. The eyes are large and black; the ears medium
sized. On the whole it is as pretty a member of the rat tribe as exists,
and it makes a splendid pet.
Meriones psammophilus is found in both Shansi and Chihli. It is
smaller in size than M. auceps, and less brightly coloured. As its
name suggests it inhabits more sandy areas.
The third species is Meriones unguiculatus , which is found in
Mongolia, the Ordos Desert and North Shansi. It is much duller
in colour than either of the other two species, and has no white about
it. It is also diurnal in its habits, whereas M. auceps is nocturnal and
M. psammopliilus only semi-diurnal. The Chinese do not distinguish
between the three species calling them all Huang shu (Yellow rat).
The hamsters, our next group, are represented in North China
by seven species and subspecies. All of these are characterized by
the possession of very large check pouches, in which they carry food,
to be stored up in their burrows. They have short tails, but are other-
wise very rat-like in appearance. The largest are the giant hamster
Cricetulus triton, and its sub-species Cncetu'lus triton incanus.
The first of these is an inhabitant of Shantung and Chihli, the second
being confined more to Western Shansi. These rats live in burrows,
which have a large store chamber, and are reached by a vertical round
68 EATS AND MICE.
shaft. They gather in enormous quantities of grain during the autumn
for winter use. One rat will thus get away with a bushel or more of
grain, and, when it is considered that in some districts burrows occur
every few yards, it will be realised what a pest, these creatures may
become. I have known of poor peasants' making a living by digging
up these graneries. The Chinese name "Pan ts'ang" has reference
to this habit, "ts'ang" meaning a store. The giant hamsters are of
a pretty grey colour, and are equal in size to the common rat. They
are very fierce and bite savagely.
The other Chihli species is the striped hamster (Cricetulus griseus)
which is not more than four inches in length, and is characterized by
having a black stripe down the middle of the back. In shape it re-
sembles the giant hamster, though in colour it is the least bit browner,
and has softer, more glossy fur. In habits it is very similar to its
larger cousin. A subspecies of this form is found in Inner Mongolia,
being known as Cricetulus gris&us obscurus.
In the hills and mountains of Shansi, Shensi and Eastern Kansu
a third species (Cricetulus andersoni) exists. It was discovered by
Anderson, whiose name it bears, in 1907. It is greyer than C. griseus,
and is without the black stripe. Its tail is longer, but in shape,
size and habits the two species are alike. It is extremely common.
The two remaining hamsters differ from these five forms in hav-
ing furry-soled feet, very short tails and unusually long whiskers.
Of these the one found in the Ordos Desert is perhaps the most re-
markable. This is an extremely elegant little creature, of a pinky-
buff colour above and pure white beneath. It was discovered by Ander-
son and myself in 1908, when it was named Cricetulus bcdfordice
after the Duchess of Bedford. Subsequently it was placed in a new
genus Phodopus by Dr. Gerrit S. Miller of the Smithsonian Institution,
on account of the shape of the sole of the foot, the little lobes, noticeable
in all other mice, being coalesced into one ball. This hamster is an
inhabitant of the sand dunes of the Ordos Desert, and has also been
recorded from North-western Shansi. These pretty little creatures
make charming pets, being very easy to keep and naturally tame.
They have many amusing habits and ways. They will fill their cheek
pouches to bursting point with millet or grass seed, distorting the
shape of their bodies ludicrously. Then, when teased or disturbed,
they will push these pouches with their fore paws, causing the grain
to pour out of their mouths. They are scrupulously clean, performing
elaborate toilets at frequent intervals in their play, and being of a
docile disposition attempt neither to bite nor to run away.
EATS AND MICE. 69
The other species, Cricetulus campbelli, resembles the Ordos ham-
ster in, shape and size, but. differs in being of a pretty grey colour with
a yellow line down each side of the body and a black stripe down the
middle of the back. It was discovered in Inner Mongolia by an ex-
plorer named Campbell, after whom it was named.
Our next group, the voles, includes over a dozen species. In
the short space available it is impossible to go into detailed descrip-
tions of all of themi.
As a class voles differ from the hamsters in not having cheek
pouches and from the true rats in having short tails and short ears,
and from both in having heavier, wider and shorter skulls There are
of course many other distinguishing features, notably in the teeth
formations, but for our purposes the above differences will serve.
In Chihli, so far as I know only one species has been recorded,
though doubtless there are many more. This is Craseomys regulus,
a large rich coloured vole which was first discovered by Anderson in
Corea and subsequently found at the Imperial Tombs east of Peking.
In .Shansi another species of the same genus was discovered by the
same collector in 1907. It was called Craseomys shanseius. These
voles are about four inches in length, and are of a rich red-brown
colour. They live amongst rocks in well wooded areas, where the
complicated ramifications of their runs may be found under the thick
The second genus, Microtus, is very well represented. Two
forms of voles belonging to it are found in Inner Mongolia, namely
Microtus angustus, a long, narrow-headed vole, and Microtus warring*
toni, a camp-inhabiting species, which was named after Mr. F. W.
Warrington, who accompanied me on the trip during which it was
discovered. Both of these species are of a sandy yellow colour, the
first being somewhat darker than the second.
In ,Shansi this genus is represented by at least three species. Of
these Microtus johannus and Microtus pullus were both new discoveries
of mine. The third, which was first discovered by David is known
as Microtus mandarinus. This species has a very big heavy skull for
its size, and inhabits the plains.
M. johannus and M. pullus are mountain inhabiting species. The
former is of a pale sandy-brown colour, and keeps to open mountain
tops, while the latter is very much darker and lives in the forested
In Kansu the genus is represented by two recently discovered
species. One, named M. malcolmi after its discoverer Mr. Malcolm
P. Anderson, differs from all the foregoing in having a very much more
70 BATS AND MICE.
arched skull. It approaches more nearly to M. calamorum the
Yang-tze reed- vole. The other, M. oniscus, was a discovery of Dr.
J. A. C. Smith, and is a very small member of the genus.
In South Shensi occurs a subspecies of M. calamamm. It was
recently described as new under the name, M. c. superbus. It is very
much larger than any of the species hitherto mentioned.
There are two subgenera of the genus Microtus, namely Microtus
(Caryomys) and Microtus (Ethenomys). The first of these is repre-
sented by three species, namely Microtus (Caryomys) Inez from West
Shensi, M. (C.) nux from South' Shensi and M. (C.) eva from West
Kansu, all of which were discovered by Anderson. These are small
rich coloured voles. Microtus (Eothenomys) melanogaster is the only
member of the second subgenus so far discovered in China. It is
found in Western Kansu as well as in Sze-chuan.
A third genus, Proedromys, has also recently been described
from Western Kansu. So far it contains only one species, Proedromys
bedfordi. This species is mainly characterized by its excessively
long hair. Otherwise, in general appearance it resembles M . malcolmi.
I have recently secured some interesting voles from Manchuria but
these are as yet unidentified. There are also many species in other
parts of China, notably in Sze-chuan province, which, however, do
not concern us in this paper. As far as my experience goes, none of
these voles make good pets, being excessively shy and inclined to
bite, when their sharp and powerful teeth inflict nasty wounds.
Many of them seem to be partially diurnal in their habits, though
one or two are purely nocturnal.
The next group we have to consider is that of the true rats and
mice. Under this heading we have .twelve species and subspecies,
contained in the four genera, Mus, Eptym^s, Apodemus and Micromys.
In the first of these comes the common rat (Mus rattus), the
common mouse (Mus wagneri) and its sub-species Mus wagneri
mongolmm, none of which need any description, except to say that
the subspecies M. w. mongolium is slightly darker than M. wagneri
In Manchuria I have found an even darker coloured form. Mus
gansuensis is another closely related form, found in Western Kansu.
The genus Epijmts includes what have been called the rock cr
sulphur-bellied rats. These are comparatively large animals not un-
like the common rat, but of a more delicate build, with longer ears
and longer, more hairy tails. There is a tendency to spinyness in
the hair of the back, and three, at least, of the four forms have
pale sulphur-yellow belly fur.
EATS AND MICE. Photo b y w - A - Mace -
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT. TOP ROW.
1. COMMON RAT (Mas rattus). 2. ROCK RAT (Epymis confucianus
luticolar}. 3. WOOD MOUSE (Apodemus speciosus). 4. FIELD
MOUSE (Apodemus agrarius). 5. COMMON MOUSE (Mus wagneri). 6.
JERBOA (Dipus sowerbyi). 7. GERBIL (Meriones auceps}. 8. ANDER-
SON'S HAMSTER (Cricetalus andersoni). 9. STRIPED HAMSTER (Crice-
tulus griseus). 10. CRDOS HAMSTER (Phodopus bedfordiae). 11.
CAMPBELL'S HAMSTER (Phoclopus campbelli).
1. REED VOLE (gen. ct sp. incon.). 2. RED-BACK VOLE (gen. et sp.
incon.}. 3. SHANSI VOLE (Crascowys shanscius). 4. MOUNTAIN VOLE
(MiwoluB pullus}. [). LONG-HEADED VOLE (M. angustus). 6.
WARRINGTON'S VOLE (M. irarringtoni). 7. MOLE RAT (Myospalax
can sus). 8. GIANT HAMSTER (Cricehdns triton).
EATS AND MICE. 71
They inhabit the rocky sides of valleys, are very voracious and
are easily trapped. They do little or no damage to crops, their fav-
ourite food being carrion and other animal refuse. They have been
known to attack sick people, and some grisly tales are told of wood
cutters or charcoal burners, who, working alone in out of the way
places, and having fallen ill, have been horribly gnawed before help
could reach them.
The three forms found in Shantung, Shansi, Shensi and Kansu
are sub-species of the Sse-chuan form Epymis confucianus. The
Shantung species, Epymis confucianus sacer is larger and heavier
than the others. The Shensi and Shansi form is a pale coloured
animal called 'Epymis confucianus luticolor; while tBe Kansu species
Epymis confucianus canorus is intermediate between the E. c. sacer
and E. confucianus.
One other rat belonging to this genus and found in the North
China area is Epymis ling, which is very much yellower in colour! than
THE WOODMOUSE (Apodemvs speciosus).
The third genus, Apodemus, contains the wood and fieldmice.
Of these the woodmouse (Apodemus speciosus peninsulas) is perhaps
the commonest. Eat-like in appearance this animal is very much
smaller than the common rat and is found in mountainous and well-
wooded country. Its range extends from Western Kansu to Eastern
Chihli and from North Shansi to South Shensi. It may be found
wherever there are woody, or even scrub covered hills, ranging from
72 RATS AND MICE.
three thousand up to ten thousand feet. It is of a rich brown colour,
with a tail as long or longer than its body.
The fieldmice are divided into two sub-species, Apodemus agrarliis
pallidior and Apodemus agrarius corece. The latter is found in Shan-
tung and Chihli, the former in the provinces westward. These mice
are like A. speciosus in colour, but have shorter tails and ears, and
are distinguished by a black line down the middle of the back. They
occur in the open plains and on hilltops, where there is some sort
of small cover. In Kansu a third species, Apodemus} fergussoni, is
found. It resembles the field mouse in proportions and colour,
but is without any trace of the dark median dorsal line.
The fourth genus Micromys is represented by but one species,
namely Micromys, minutus, which is found in Southern Shensi. This
pretty little mouse is commonly known as the harvest-mouse, and is
much the smallest of all the mice. In passing it may be mentioned
that A. agrarius and A. speciosus were originally consigned to the
Our last group, the molerats, is an extremely interesting one.
It is represented in North China by at, least six species of peculiar
mole-like rodents. Molerats live underground where they excavate
extensive burrows in their search for the roots and bulbs, upon which
they subsist. They have soft thick fur like that of the mole, en-
ormously developed front feet and claws for digging, rudimentary
eyes, and no external ears. Their tails are hairless and extremely
sensitive. They have blunt flat noses, very powerful teeth, and
heavy skulls. In short, they are built for digging in the close-packed
and dry soil of North China. They do considerable damage to crops,
and in some districts are relentlessly hunted by the Chinese farm-
ers in an endeavour to exterminate them.
The generic name of this group of rodents is Myospalax, and
as already stated, contains some six species in Nortb China, namely
M>. fontanieri, M. fontanus, M. cansus, M. psilurus, M, smithii and
M . rothschildi.
Of these the two first were at first confused with one another,
but later M. fontanus was described as a distinct species from speci-
mens secured by Anderson and myself in Western Shansi. M.
fontanieri' s true habitat is in the neighbourhood of Peking. In colour
M. fontanus is of a fine slate-grey. It is a very large rodent, with a
heavy well-ridged skull. There is almost invariably a white diamond-
shaped patch on the forehead.
THE KANSU ALLACTAGA (Allactaga mongolica longior).
THE BUZZARD (Euteo hemilaseus}.
RATS AND MICE.
M. cansus is found in Shensi and Kansu, is considerably smaller
than the Shansi form and is of a much browner colour, the grey being
clouded or washed with light chocolate.
THE MOLERAT (Myospalax fontanieri).
M. psilurus is the species common to Chihli. It resembles M.
cansus in size and appearance, but has some differences in the skull.
M. smithii is related to M. fontanieri, and was discovered by
Dr. Smith in South-western Kansu, as also was M. rothschildi.
This species is the smallest known, somewhat resembling M. cansus.
Molerats are very easy to keep alive, but are of too savage a
disposition to make good pets. One I owned was allowed the free-
dom of the room, and one day it bored its way through the entire
thickness of the bedclothes, mattress, blankets, quilt and all.
SQUIRRELS, MARMOTS AND PIKAS.
AMONGST the best known and most popular of all the numerous
members of the great order Rodentia are the squirrels. The typ-
ical member of this large family (Sciuridae) is the common squir-
rel (Sciurus vulgaris), whose habitat extends from the western coasts
of the British Isles, right across Europe and Asia to the eastern shores
of Japan. Naturally in so great an extent of country a considerable
variation is found amongst the squirrels, though in essential character-
istics the varieties of the common squirrel agree. In Great Britain
the coat is red, even in winter. In some places the coat is red in
summer and grey in winter, while in others, such as those in Manchuria,
the pelt is grey in summer and winter. Thus it is known respectively
as the red squirrel, the grey squirrel and the fur squirrel.
Most people are familiar with the appearance of the common
Squirrel. It is characterized by having a very soft coat, a long bushy
tail and tufts on the ears. In this last particular it differs from all
the other squirrels, except the red-squirrel (S. hudsonianue) of North
In North China the common squirrel is very rare, occurring only
in the heavily forested regions. It has been recorded from the forests
(now being demolished) of Northern Chihli. I have heard of it in
West Shansi, but have, never seen it there. It also occurs in Western
Kansu and in Manchuria, in which two areas it is fairly plentiful. At
one time it must have been very much more common in China Proper,
but, like every other animal in this country, which is capable of being
turned into money, has been so persecuted that it' is very nearly
There are few pets more entertaining than squirrels, buti they
are seen at thteir best, when, having been taken young, are allowed
the freedom of the house and garden. Their little tricks and habits
are most interesting, and they become so tame that they will not
desert for the wilds again.
SQUIRBELS, MAEMOTS AND PIKAS. 75
Beside the common squirrel there are at least three species of
flying squirrels found in North China, not to mention the ground 01
striped squirrels and their allies the susliks and marmots. /
Of the flying squirrels two are large species belonging to the genus
Pteromys. Both of these were originally described from the forested
areas of North-eastern Chihli. They are large rodents with wide,
fur-covered membranes stretching along the sides of the body, joining
up the front, and hind limbs. An elongated bone from the wrist
supports this membrane in front, while it also stretches from the back of
the hind limbs and embraces the tail. Thus when the animal spreads out
its limbs it becomes, as it were, a living parachute, so that it can
jump from the top of a tree, and by utilizing the resistance of the
air vol-plain a considerable distance, it is said upwards of forty yards.
The two species recorded are Pteromys xanthipes and P. melanop-
terus. The former is of a rich chestnut-red colour with a white
head, the latter of a dull grey-brown.
THE FLYING SQUIRREL (Sciuropterus buechneri).
The third species is much smaller, and belongs to the genus
Sciuropterus. This is a pretty little creature, related to the American
flying squirrels. It is about the size of the common rat, and has a
fine, very soft coat of grey, tinged in places with buff. The underside
is grey-white, the cheeks silver-grey. Tihb tail is bushy but flat,
the sides being buff, the lower surface black, with: a black line down
the upper surface. What makes this squirrel one of the most beautiful
of its kind are the enormous black eyes. The wing-membrane is not
so broad as in the foregoing genus, nor is it continued behind the hind
legs. The species was named Sciuropterus buechneri from specimens
obtained in Kansu, In the winter of 1909-10 I secured several
76 SQUIRRELS, MARMOTS AND PIKAS.
specimens in the forests of West Shansi. These, for the present, have
been assigned to the Kansu species. The natives brought me several
live specimens, one of which I kept for some months. It became
very tame, but died during the summer heat. Very lively and active,
the members of this genus are amongst the most beautiful denizens
of the forests. They are nocturnal in their habits. During the day
they hide in holes in hollow trees, coming out at dusk to play about
and gambol in the prettiest way. Racing up one tree to its topmost
branch, they fling themselves into the air, with legs outstretched,
and glide swiftly towards the trunk of another. At the end of the
flight they rise slightly and alight upon the desired tree, when they
scramble upward to repeat the manreuvre. At the slightest sign of
danger they dodge behind the tree trunk, or press themselves flat
upon the limb, when their protective colouring at once renders them
Other species have been described from Japan, Saghalien and
One of the commonest squirrels in North China is David's squirrel
(Sciurotbmias davidianus), wh'ich belongs to a genus intermediate
between the squirrels and the chipmunks or ground squirrels. About
the size and appearance of the common squirrel, it is at, once dis-
tinguishable by the absence of ear-tufts, and the browner colouring,
which is caused by the otherwise grey hairs being tipped with buff.
The long hairs of the bushy tail are tipped with white. A light buff
ring encircles, the eye and there is a light patch behind the ear. The
belly is grey washed with buff.
This species occurs in mountainous and hilly regions all over
North China. It possesses large cheek-pouches, in which particular
it differs from the common squirrel, but resembles the chipmunks.
Though it can climb trees, it is more of a rock and cliff inhabiting
species, nesting in deep cracks and crannies.
I found these squirrels extremely plentiful in the mountains of
South Shensi. Here the natives told me they form a regular pest,
and are as bad as rats in the way they enter the houses and steal
grain and food.
The chipmunks are little striped squirrels, which keep to the ground,
excavating deep burrows, and living chiefly upon the seeds of herbs
and small plants. These they store in specially constructed chambers
in their burrows. They are graceful little creatures, being beautifully
marked. The crown is of a grizzled brown, while the sides of the
head are marked with three bands of dark brown, which extend
SQUIRBELS, MARMOTS AND PIKAS.
respectively from the nose, above, through and below the eye, the
space between being of a creamy white. The cheeks are buff and the
throat creamy- white. Five dark stripes, which vary from a rich brown
to black according to the species, extend down the back, the interven-
ing spaces being occupied with white or light grey. All the stripes
merge into a light chestnut or raw sienna patch on the rump. The
flanks are ochraceous, the belly light buff. The long bushy tail is
ochraceous down the middle, edged with black, the long hairs being
tipped with' white. As already indicated chipmunks have large cheek-
pouches in which they carry the proceeds of their foraging expeditions.
They are excessively lively and active; are diurnal in their habits, and
unlike any of the foregoing species, go into retirement for the winter.
THE CHIPMUNK (Eutamias 1 asiaticus senescens).
They make a peculiar chirping noise, which is very hard to locate,
seeming to come from all parts of the compass at once.
When the wild apricots are on, these little creatures climb the
trees for the fruit, and can easily be caught with cunningly set snares,
made by the natives out of horse hair. When taken young the^
make splendid pets, but adult males are inclined to be savage, and can
bite very severely. One which' I brought from Kansu, and which had
been kept in captivity ever since it could eat, grew so fierce that it
would attack human beings, and climbing up their clothes try to
bite their hands and face. It was kept in an empty room, and
78 SQUIRRELS, MABMOTS AND PIKAS.
strongly resented any intrusion. It met its fate one day when it
attacked a large Tom cat.
The first species was described by Pallas under the name oi
Eutamias asiaticus from the mountains west of Peking. Dr. Miller des-
cribed a sub-species E. a. senescens from the mountains west of Peking.
Anderson and I secured specimens from the Ordos Desert, which were
very much paler and more buff coloured than the last mentioned, and
so were described as distinct under the name of E. a. ordindlis. A
third sub-species, intermediate between the Chihli and Ordos forms
was also described from our collection, being called E. a. intercessor.
This last inhabits the mountainous areas of West Shansi. Some
chipmunks secured by me in Manchuria show a very much darker
colouring, while other species and allied genera occur in Sze-chuan
Belated to the chipmunks are the susliks or, as they are more
popularly called, "gophers." These are often referred to as ground
squirrels. They are small rodents not unlike squirrels, but having
short, less bushy tails and very small ears. They are also purely
terrestial, being unable to climb trees. They inhabit plains and desert
areas, excavating deep and extensive burrows, for which purpose their
fore-paws are larger and more powerful than those of the chipmunk,
and are armed with long, sharp claws. Their bodies are long and
their limbs short, which characteristics, with their short ears and tails
help them in their semi-subterranean lives. They feed upon different
herbs and small plants, which grow at convenient distances from their
burrows. If they can get at fields off grain they will work great havoc.
They seldom go far from the mouths of their burrows, and keep a
eharp look out 1 for enemies, whom they escape by diving underground.
They may often be seen sitting up like sentinels upon the mounds of
earth, which they raise beside their burrows. Scanning the open plain
in every direction, they make sure that no enemy is near ere they
will go foraging, and it is a difficult matter for any wild beast to
approach them. Man they seem to scorn, and so can be caught easily.
They are diurnal in their habits, and, like the chipmunks,
hibernate during the winter. In colour they are of a uniform sandy-
grey, slightly darker above.
One species, Citellus mongolicus, occurs in North China, a sub-
species, C. m. umbratus, having been described from the grasslands
of Inner Mongolia.
A very large, closely related genus is that of the marmots, which
is represented in North China by a single species (Marmota robusfri).
SQUIRRELS, MARMOTS AND PIKAS.
This rodent, which is somewhat larger than a hare, occurs in China
proper only in the extreme west of Kansu, but, is plentiful in Eastern
Mongolia and the neighbouring portions .of Manchuria. In Kansu it
is known by the Chinese as "Ta-la," and in Manchuria as "Han ta"
(Dry otter), while the Mongol name is Tarrabagan. This is one of
the few fur-producing rodents of North China. At the time when
the pneumonic plague was raging in Manchuria it was thought that
this creature was largely responsible for its origin and spread, but
careful investigation has shown this idea to be erroneous.
THE SUSLIK (Citellus mongolicus).
Our next genus, Ochotona, consists of small rabbit-like rodents,
commonly known as pikas. They resemble the rabbit family in having
only four toes on the hind feet, furry soles and an extra pair of very
small incisor teeth behind the two large ones in the upper jaw. They
differ from the rabbits and hares in having extremely small tails,
which do not even appear through the skin of the body. They also
have smaller, more rounded ears. They are very much smaller than
any of the rabbits, the largest not exceeding eight or nine inches in
Like rabbits they burrow a great deal, making extensive warrens.
They also have little beaten tracks or runways between the rocks, and
ramifying through the underbrush, in which they live. Their food
consists of grass and small herbs. In the case of flhie- Siberian pika,
SQUIRRELS, MARMOTS AND PIKAS.
they heap up large stores of grass near their burrows, doubtless for
winter consumption. I have never noticed anything of the sort in
connection with any of the Chinese species. They seem to be semi-
diurnal or semi-nocturnal, for I have found them early in the morning
in traps set overnight. I have also trapped them during the day.
It may be that they commence their foraging at the first sign of dawn,
and do not actually come out at night. They do not hibernate.
The race seems to be eminently adaptive, for species occur in
the arid wastes of the Ordos, on the grassy plateau of Inner Mon-
golia, in the forested areas of West Shansi, amongst t'hie loess hills of
Shensi and Kansu and on the highest mountains of the central and
Altogether some eight species and sub-species have been described
from North China, including one from Inner Mongolia.
THE PIKA (Ochotona bedfordi).
One of the first known species was Ochotona dauurica, which
occurs in Inner Mongolia. It was originally described from the Urga
district in the north. This species in its summer pelt is of a grey-
brown colour above, with light grey under parts. The flanks are
lighter than the back, while the chest is of a buff colour, the chin
^rey-white. The upper part of the back of the ear is black. The
adult, is about eight inches in length. It inhabits the sides of low
hills, having preference for scrub patches, beds of stinging nettles or
rocky screes. It frequently takes up its quarters in disused
badger holes, or "setts" as they are called, excavating long galleries and
tunnels in the walls of the latter. It is very difficult to catch pikas
in traps which require the taking of bait, but, an ordinary "gin" set in
one of their runways catches them easily enough.
SQUIRRELS, MARMOTS AND PIKAS. 81
Further west in North Shansi, in the Ordos Desert and in North
Shensi this species is replaced by another lighter form known as
0. bedfordi. This was described from specimens taken by Anderson
and myself in West Shansi. Its chief characteristics are its very much
paler pelt and slightly larger size, while the skull was described as
being slightly larger, less convex on the forehead, with larger brain-case,
very much larger bullae, and as being broader than in 0. dauurica. These
pikas we found occupying sites at various altitudes in the loess hills.
Some were in colonies on the plains and in river valleys, while others
would be located in t'hie deep loess gullies and ravines or on the steep
sides of the hills. Specimens from Yen-an Fu in North-central Shensi
agree in skull measurements with those from the type locality (Ning-wu
Fu) in West Shansi, but' the winter pelts are somewhat different.
Those from Shansi are somewhat darker and more ochraceous in
colour than those from Shensi.
On the Clark expedition in 1909 I secured specimens in Eastern
Kansu of yet a third species, which was called 0. annectens by Dr.
Gerrit S. Miller of the U.S. National Museum. This species, though
resembling the Shensi pika, is somewhat smaller, and has smaller
bullae and more convex upper cranial outline. It was only in Kansu
that I ever saw pikas playing about in broad daylight, and I was
struck by their remarkable resemblance to rabbits in the way they
moved and fed. I secured some live ones, which I tried to tame, but
the little creatures were altogether too timid to endure handling, and
refused to eat.
From Western Kansu Prof. Matschie has described a species under
the name of 0. huangensis, which more closely resembles 0. dauurica.
In the forests of West Shansi, when on the Duke of Bedford's
Exploration of Eastern Asia I discovered a small wood-pika, which
was described as new by Mr. Thomas, who gave it the name 0. sorella.
Only one specimen was secured at that time, but I secured a second on
a later trip. No other specimens have yet been obtained. This pika
is very much smaller than any of those already mentioned. It is
considerably darker in colour than 0. dauurica and the hair on the
soles of the feet is very dark. It keeps entirely to wooded mountains,
amongst the moss-covered boulders of which it excavates extensive
and complicated burrows. It seems to be a very rare species.
Related to it is 0. cansa from Kansu, described by Lyon. This
species is larger, however, and has larger bullae and a less convex
82 SQUIRRELS, MARMOTS AND PIKAS.
A sub-species of 0. cansa has recently been described by Mr.
Thomas from the Tai-pei Shan in South Shensi, under the name of
0. c. morosa.
In the same district, yet another species has been newly described
by the same authority. This is 0. syrinx, and is related to 0. cansa,
but is much larger, and has smaller bullae.
These eight species are all very much alike in external general ap-
pearance, the noticeable differences being (mainly in their sizes and
different shades of colour.
THE GOLDEN EAGLE AND OTHER BIRDS OF PREY
FROM time immemorial the eagle has been invested with the
stamp of royalty. We have been familiar with the Roman Eagles from
our earliest schoolboy days, and most of the present day Sovereigns in
Europe have the eagle in some form or other upon their coat of arms.
Even the Republics of America and Mexico have chosen the eagle to
form some part of their heraldry.
What is it that has singled out this bird above all others as the
emblem of authority, conquest and even freedom? Was it not its
regal bearing, its strength and power, its fierce disposition that first re-
commended it to the old world conquerors, who handed it on to their
Caesars and Kaisers? Ever since it has been idealised in our story
books, and we have come to look upon it as the bird of birds.
And so it is in many respects. No bird has so markedly that pierc-
ing glance, those overhanging brows, that noble poise of head and that
grace and perfect equilibrium in the air. The vulture may be larger
and also graceful on the wing, but there is something mean and dis-
reputable about its naked head and neck, set so deeply between its
shoulders. The yellow eye of the hawk may flash more fiercely, but the
bird lacks size and dignity, while there is something indescribably comic
about the owl.
There are a great many kinds of eagles, but the one most familiar
to us is the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetus), so called on account of the
light colour of its long neck feathers. In size this bird may be com-
pared with a good sized turkey. Its spread of wing may reach six or
seven feet, though the latter measurement is unusual.
Of a general dark brown colour, it has some white on the wings
and tail, the tips of which are black. The powerful talons are of a
bright yellow colour, with long sharp claws of black. The legs are
feathered right down to the feet. The beak, which is not as large as
in some species, is black, with bright yellow base. The eyes, which
are set deeply under beetling brows, are of a rich brown.
84 THE GOLDEN EAGLE AND OTHEE BIEDS OF PEEY.
In China the golden eagle is found all over Shansi, especially in the
mountainous parts and throughout Shensi and Kansu. It is very
common in Mongolia, where it nests on the ground, there being, as a
rule, neither cliff nor tree. In other places it builds its nest high up
on rocky cliffs. The female, which is larger and fiercer than the male,
usually lays two eggs. The young when hatched are covered with soft,
white down. They grow very rapidly and can fly in August. Some-
times the parent birds commence nesting very early in the year-
When attacking its prey the eagle uses its talons, striking and
clutching as it swoops down upon its victim. The beak is only used
for rending after the animal is killed. In Central Asia this bird is
used to kill large quadrupeds and birds. It. will strike down a fox or
Golden eagles make good pets, though they want careful handling,
and must be given plenty of space the more the better. They are
best when taken young, for then they do not try to escape as older
birds do, nor does one feel so bad about depriving them of their
liberty. They can be fed on scraps of raw meat, and should not be
given too much. Six ounces a day is ample. I have frequently had
young ones in my possession, but have usually ended up by setting them
at liberty. Of two I once had, one became quite docile, the other, how-
ever, remaining fierce and intractable. When I approached the latter
it would fly at me and strike with its claws, which it once succeeded
in burying in my forearm.
One in my possession now I picked up in Mongolia. It is quite
tame and will feed from the hand, though it does not like to be handled.
One evening a cat got into its cage to steal its meat. With a scream of
fury the eagle pounced upon the thief, and but for timely interference
would have killed it.
In the wild state the golden eagle is not easily approached, except
where it is very plentiful. It feeds upon hares, birds, small rodents and
carrion. In some places the last mentioned seems to be its chief diet.
I have frequently seen eagles feeding upon the corpses of beggars and
children, which have been left unburied in the fields.
The spotted eagle (A. clanga), a much smaller bird, is also found in
North China, its range extending into South China. It may be re-
cognized by its plumage, which is spotted in immature specimens on
the wing coverts, rump and belly.
Another eagle found in North China is the white-tailed sea-eagle
(Haliaetus albicilla). This bird rivals the golden eagle in size, and has
a heavier bill. It is much lighter in colour and has a white tail. The
THE GOLDEN EAGLE AND OTHER BIEDS OF PREY. 85
beak, legs and eyes are yellow. Though a sea eagle it travels up the
courses of large rivers for considerable distances inland, and may be
seen circling round offal and debris scattered over the alluvial plains by
the flood waters.
Closely related to this species is the bald-headed eagle
(H. leucoceplialus), which is characterized by having a white head, not,
as the name seems to imply, a bald one. This species does not keep
so much to the river courses, but may be found in hillyi and moun-
H. pelagicus, a very large species, has been seen once in China by
Pere David. Its true habitat is North-eastern Asia, where it has
been recorded as breeding in great numbers in the Sea of Okhotsk.
This bird is remarkable chiefly for its enormous yellow bill.
Much the largest bird in North China, that is at all related to the
eagles, is the black vulture (Vultur monachus). This bird has a spread
of wing as much as nine feet and over. One I measured was nine and
a half feet from tip to tip. This specimen now stands in a museum in
Tai-yuan Fu. The black vulture is very rare, being found only in high
mountainous country. As its name suggests it is of a uniform dull
black colour. Its legs are of a deep carmine, and are comparatively
weak, with small claws. It has an enormous black beak, and a naked
neck, at the base of which is a fine ruff of feathers. The head is cover-
ed with fine, black down, growing into a tuft at the back.
A much commoner vulture is the lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus),
which is fairly plentiful in Western Shansi. This large bird differs
from most vultures in having the head and neck entirely feathered.
Its talons, though not so powerful as those of an eagle, are, neverthe-
less, much stronger than those of the black vulture, which bird it also
rivals in size. The lammergeier is of a brown colour above, paler on
the throat and breast, merging into a fine chestnut, on the belly. It has
a long wedge-shaped tail. The beak is sharply hooked, and there is a
small tuft of feathers on the chin like a beard.
A bird that might almost rank with the eagles is the osprey, or
fish-hawk (Pandion haliaetus). Though not so large as the eagle, it is a
fine, handsome bird, with dark upper parts and white breast, belly and
legs. It has very powerful talons, which are white in colour. It lives
upon fish, which it catches by pouncing upon them as they come to
the surface. It will pull a fish of three or four pounds weight out? cf
the water, and carry it off to its nest or some dead limb high up on its
favourite tree. The nest, which is enormous, is usually built at the
86 THE GOLDEN EAGLE AND OTHEE BIEDS OF PEEY.
top of some high tree. The osprey is not very plentiful in North China
proper, but I saw a great many in Manchuria along the big rivers.
Beside these large birds there are a great many smaller birds of
prey found in North China. There is the kite (Milvua melanotis),
which occurs everywhere, from the coastal towns and regions to the
Mongolian Plateau or the Archaic ranges of the west. This bird is in
the main a scavenger, though it is credited with carrying off chicks
and other young poultry. It is often mistaken for the eagle whon in
flight, but it may readily be distinguished from all other birds of prey
in this country by its forked tail.
A bird that about equals the kite in size, and somewhat resembL3s
it in appearance is the white-tailed buzzard (Buteo hemilasi\us)
though its plumage is considerably lighter, and its feet are yellow
instead of blue-grey. This bird is not a scavenger, though it is not
so good a hunter as many other hawks, being somewhat slow and
plumsy. I have seen one chasing a peregrine to rob it of a partridge,
which it had caught. The buzzard, though much the larger bird was
unable to overtake its victim, in spite of the heavy weight the latter
Birds belonging to this species are very common in the loess hills
of North and West Shansi, where they build their nests on ledges or
outgrowing shrubs on high cliffs. They love to perch on the tops of
tall trees and buildings, whence they may command a wide view. It
is almost impossible to get a shot at them, for they are very shy and
wide awake. In Mongolia I came across a large buzzard which was
very light in colour with a white head.
A much smaller species, B. plumipes, also occurs. It is common
in North-east China, but is not often met with in the west.
The next bird in point of size is a gerfalcon (Falco sacer), a fine
hawk, rioted for its fierceness and speed, and much valued by the
falconer. This and the next species are used a great deal by the
Chinese in the pursuit of small game. I have described the mode of
procedure in this sport elsewhere, so will not do so again.
In England some attempts have been made to revive falconry, but
without much success. So much time and patience is required in
training the falcons and in keeping them so.
The peregrine (Falco peregrinus) is also very common in China,
chiefly in hilly and mountainous districts. This bird may readily be
recognized by its dark blue-black back, white throat and closely barred,
grey breast. It is of a lighter, more slender build than the gerfalcon.
THE GOLDEN EAGLE AND OTHER BIRDS OF PREY. 87
The female is of a browner colour, and has not the fine, barred breast
of the male, but is larger and fiercer. Like most of its kind the
peregrine builds its nest in high cliffs well out of reach of its enemies.
The sparrow hawk (Accipiter nisus) is very common in this
country. This pretty little hawk is chiefly remarkable for its unus-
ually long legs. The Chinese also use this species in falconry, though
it catches only small birds. The well known kestrel (Cerchneis tinnun-
cnlus) is also very common in North China, and may be recognised
by its light brick red back and breast, and grey head and wings. The
female is brown spotted with a darker shade. This bird may frequently
be seen hovering in the air for seconds together, only its wings beating
rapidly to keep it in position.
Another small hawk that is very common is the Amour red-footed
falcon (Erythropus amurensis). The plumage in this species is of
a uniform blue-grey, slightly lighter below. Its under tail coverts are
of a rich Indian red colour. The base of the beak, eyelids and legs
are also red or orange in colour. This and the two preceding species
build their nests in tall trees.
A hawk that should be familiar to every wild fowler is the beautiful
hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), which frequents marshy districts, feed-
ing upon small aquatic birds and animals. It is of a fine grey on
the head, back, wings and tail. The breast is grey and the belly
white. The base of the beak, the eyes and the long legs are of a bright
light yellow. The female is brown. These birds have very long wings,
and are extremely graceful. In Manchuria a harrier with a black
head and back, black and white wings and belly is very common.
It. is known as C. melanoleucus.
Finally we come to the nocturnal birds of prey. There are some
eight different species of owls, ranging from 1 the great eagle owl, which
is about! thirty inches in length, down to the little scops owl, not more
than seven inches.
The eagle owl (Bubo maximus) is almost the largest of its kind.
It is of a brown colour, lighter on the, breast than elsewhere, very
prettily marked with dark brown and black bars. It has two long
tufts like ears growing from the top of the head. The eyes, which are
very large, are of an orange colour; the feet are feathered, except on
the under surface, and are armed with long powerful claws. The
eagle owl inhabits mountainous and forested regions throughout North
China and Manchuria, where it may frequently be seen at dusk, flying
silently over the tree tops in search of food.
88 THE GOLDEN EAGLE AND OTHEE BIEDS OF PREY.
Next in size are the long-eared owl (Otus wulgaris) and the short-
eared owl (Otus brachyotus), both of which frequent mountainous
regions as well as the plains. Of these the long eared owl is the more
graceful, having longer wings and tail. In colour and markings both
are very similar to each other, and to the eagle owl.
A brown owl (Nenox japonica) also occurs, besides two wood owls
(Symium fuscescens and S. niviola) both very rare.
The little owl (Athene plumipes), as a small rock or loess-inhabit-
ing species is called, is no larger in the body than a quail, but with
its fluffy feathers it looks the size of a half grown pigeon. It has no
fcufts on the head like the other owls of North China have. As already
indicated it frequents the holes and ravines in rocky or loess hills.
When it comes out in the evening it makes a cackling noise something
like that of the chukar. It is of a light brown colour on the back
marked with white or buff dots. Its breast is buff with dark mark-
ings. With its quaint little ways and tractable disposition it makes
a charming pet. There can be no more amusing sight than one of
these little birds attacking a cat or terrier. With every feather on end,
eyes wide open and uttering shrill, piercing screams, it presents a
sufficiently fierce appearance to daunt the boldest dog.
The last species we have to consider is the scops owl (Scops stic-
tonotus), a beautiful little creature no bigger than a starling. It is of
a dark grey-brown marked with bars of a deeper shade. It has bright
yellcw eyes and ear-like tufts. Usually it hides up in old temples,
coming out in the evening at dusk. Woe betide the sparrow who so
much as stirs a feather, when this fierce little marauder is about; for
like lightning it will detect the whereabouts of its prey and swoop upon
it in the dark, uttering a series of shrill, piping screams, apparently
to disconcert its victim and so render capture more sure.
TO-DAY, the 1st of October, pheasant shooting beings at home, and
doubtless many a Tientsin sportsman is wishing that he too might
shoulder his gun, and with his favourite pointer go 'for a happy
day amongst the pheasants. As this is quite out? of the question for
most of us, let us indulge in a little armchair travel, and derive what
comfort we can from a quiet contemplation of the noble sport over our
coffee and toast.
On the merits of pheasant shooting, compared with other forms of
sport, in which the shot-gun plays the leading part, one need say no-
thing. The fact that it is by far the most important sport of its kind
at home speaks for it.
The common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) was introduced into
Western Europe by the Eomans, who brought it from its home in
South-eastern Europe and Asia Minor. When it reached Great Britain
is not exactly known.
This bird is a handsome fellow, with its rich orange-brown, and
old gold plumage, dark green head and fine, well marked tail, the whole
shot with a purple or coppery sheen. There are something like thirty
sub-species or local races of the common pheasant, all of which
are characterized by the red-brown or orange colour of the upper tail
coverts. They range from Persia westward, and so, being more or
less out of our way, call for no further comment in this paper.
From Persia eastward right to the islands off the coast of China,
we have a great number and variety of pheasants. What are known
as the true pheasants are characterized by having wings more like those
of the partridge, with the first flight feather much longer than the
tenth, by the absence of any crest, though the ear tufts are elongated
in the males, and by the presence in the males of spurs. They
differ from the true pheasants west of Persia in having the upper tail
coverts of a grey or pale green colour,.
90 PHEASANT SHOOTING.
These are the birds which give us the best sport, and which have
from time to time been introduced into Great Britain, so that now, it
is said, it is impossible to find a pure bred bird in that country.
The Chinese pheasant is represented by several local races. They
are all distinguished by more or less pronounced white collars, exten-
sive grey-green upper tail-coverts, orange brown breasts, shot with a
purple sheen, and long, barred tails.
The bird inhabiting North-eastern China has been called Phasianus
kiangsuensi, and is characterized by the very broad and complete white
collar and a whitish eyebrow. The Yang-tze bird is known as P.
torquatus. In this species the white collar is incomplete in front, the
sides are veryi much lighter than in the northern bird, while the sheen
on the green neck is purple, not green, as in the other.
In South China the pheasant is represented by P. satschennensis.
In Western Mongolia the species is represented first by P.
semitorquatus, and still further west by the Mongolian pheasant
(P. mongolicus), which is characterized by its superior size and
white, instead of grey, wing coverts.
One other true pheasant calls for notice, and that is the famous
Beeves' pheasant (Syrmaticus reevesii), which inhabits Central, North-
eastern and Western China. This magnificent bird is distinguished by
the enormous length of its tail, which reaches five or six feet, and is
handsomely barred with black and white. The plumage of the body
is of a fine golden yellow, each feather being tipped with black. The
head is black and white. I have seen this bird for sale in the Tientsin
markets, stripped, of course, of the fine tail feathers, which are highly
valued as plumes for a certain warrior character in Chinese theatricals.
In South and West China occur two very handsome pheasants
which, however, can not be included in the true pheasant class. These
are the golden pheasant (Crysolophus pictus) and Lady Amherst's
pheasant (C. amherstiae). These superbly plumaged birds are dis-
tinguished by the possession of large brightly marked' hoods, which
look like capes hanging down from their necks. They also have
very long, broad and well marked tails. So bright are their colours
that they look almost artificial.
Another class of pheasants are those which are included in the
genus Pucrasia, to which belong the pucras pheasants, or koklass.
These are about the size of the common pheasant, perhaps a little
smaller, and are characterized by having short wedge-shaped tails, and
long crests ; while the feathers of their backs and necks are long and
pointed like those on the neck of the common fowl. They are not
brilliantly marked birds, being about the least conspicuous of the
THE CHINESE PHEASANT (Phasianus kiangsuensis).
THE SIIANSI PHEASANT (Pliasianus sp.).
PHEASANT SHOOTING. 91
whole pheasant family. They are excellent eating, and grow very
fat. They range from the Himalayas to the Manchurian forests, and
include about eight species. Birds from Manchuria find their way
into the Tientsin markets. The three species found in China are,
Pucrasia darwini from Eastern China, P. xanthospila from Western
China, and P. styani from the region of the Yang-tze.
In Manchuria the pucras pheasants are very common. During the
colder months of the year they collect in bouquets of ten to fifteen
but, owing to the dense forests they frequent, do not offer very good
sport. Their Chinese name in Manchuria is Hsu Chi (Tree hen), or
Sung Chi (Pine hen).
An interesting group of pheasants is formed by the blood pheasants
of West China. Three species have been described from China. One,
Ithagenes sinensis is found in the Ching-ling Mountains of South
Shensi. Not unlike the pucras pheasant, but with softer feathers, this
bird has a grey crest, neck and back, green flanks, carmine belly and
red legs. The second species, I. geoffroyi, is abundant in Western
Szechuan, along the Thibetan border. The third species, I. wilsoni
also occurs in Szechuan, but more to the south.
Last, but not least, come the eared-pheasants, of which there
are two distinct species. One of these, the Manchurian eared-pheasant
(Crossoptilon mantchuricum) is found from Western Shansi, through-
out the high mountainous regions of North Chihli into Manchuria.
This species has a black head, black neck, breast, shoulders and wings.
The back, the upper tail coverts and the anterior portion of the large
and handsomely curved tail are grey-white. The throat is pure white,
white feathers extending on either side of the head into long ear-like
tufts, giving the bird a ferocious appearance. The face is naked and
red, as in the common pheasant, the beak is horn-coloured and the
legs are carmine. In size this pheasant equals a small turkey, weighing
about 7 Ibs. Altogether it is a very striking bird. As a sporting bird it
has few equals; as an addition to the cuisine none.
In Kansu, and westward into Thibet this species is replaced by
another form (C. auritum), which includes three local races, or
sub-species (C. a. harmani, C. a. Icucurum and C. a. tibetanum).
By some these local races are considered as distinct species, by others
mere varieties of one species; but as we are not concerned with the
quarrels of the learned, so long as they ultimately give us some names,
whereby to distinguish the numerous varieties of animals and birds, we
will leave the matter with them, contenting ourselves by noticing that
a difference in plumage does exist.
92 PHEASANT SHOOTING.
C. auritum is of a fine slate-blue colour with no white, except on
the throat and ear- tufts,, while C. a. tibetanum is white all over except
for the top of the head, which is black, the wings, which are brown and
the tail which is black with a metallic sheen.
Eared-pheasants are only to be found in high mountainous and
heavily wooded regions. They are essentially birds of the forest, and
are very fast runners. Though not strong on the wing, they afford
good sport by their peculiar habit of soaring, or, to use more up to
date language, vol-planing from the crest of the high ridges, on which
they live, down or across the intervening valleys. Being heavy birds
they soon get up a terrific momentum, so that their speed exceeds that
of the common pheasant. Unless they escape out at the bottom of
the valley, or cross the ridge into the next, they will repeat the soaring
manoeuvre over and over again, so that a sportsman, standing at the
bottom of the valley, gets a series of shots that will test his skill and
judgement to the uttermost, and he will be a proud man if he returns
to camp with four or five of these handsome birds.
To return to the Chinese pheasant, (which I will mention hereafter
as the pheasant), there are no really good coverts within easy
reach of Tientsin. The hills north of Peking annually yield a few
brace to some ardent sportsmen, who do not mind stiff climbing.
The most accessible pheasant grounds are, however, down the
Tsin-Pu line, at the various stations beyond Peng-pu and further south
round Nanking. Of course these grounds were quite inaccessible till
the railway was opened, and even now they are only practicable when
the weekly express is running.
Other districts within two or three day's journey are, the valleys
east of Mukden and Kai-yuan in Manchuria, the hinterland from
Antung in North Korea and South Manchuria, South Shansi and North
Honan, accessible from the Pei-han line by means of the Pekin Syndi-
cate line and the Pienlo, East Shansi accessible from, the Chen-tai
line by getting off at Ping-tan, the station for Ping-ting Chou, and West
Shansi, accessible from Tai-yuan Fu, the terminus of the same line.
In any of these places good bags may be made, but for sheer num-
bers of pheasants no country can compare with the sparsely populated
loess districts of North-central Shensi from Yen-an Fu to Pei-tung-
kuan, and one or two uninhabited areas in Eastern Kansu. Here the
birds are so thick, that shooting them practically ceases to be a sport.
To begin with they are so tame that it is almost impossible to get
them to fiy, and it is not till one has been in the district some time
tod frightened them a bit that they will offer decent shots.
PHEASANT 6HOOTING . 9S
It is almost unbelievable the number of birds that iray be seen
feeding in the open fields along the roadside during a days march;
but there are at least a dozen foreigners, who will bear me out in my
statements. On my first visit in the winter of 1907, the pheasants
swarmed, so that I could knock them down with my whip as I rode
past. On my second visit during the Clark Expedition, four foreigners
and a couple of dozen Chinese lived upon pheasants for over
two months, no other meat being available, except an occasional
duck and venison onc'e or twice. We shot over the thorn
scrub coverts within sight of the walls of Yen-an Fu to our hearts
content, and when we left the birds were as numerous as ever. But
it was during my last visit in the winter of 1911-12 that their numbers
surpassed anything I had ever dreamed of, as they swarmed, literally
in hundreds, along the roadside. The crops, owing to the Revolu-
tion, had not been gathered in that autumn, and this seemed to attract
unusually large numbers of birds out of the hills on to the wide valleys.
The members of the Shensi Relief Expedition shot pheasants till they
were tired of the sport, and still the birds refused even to take cover.
Had we the ammunition, there would have been no difficulty in bagging
two or three hundred birds a day, and these conditions existed over a
stretch of country that took five days to traverse, going at a good rate.
I knew, too, from previous journeys that the same conditions probably
extended eastward across the Yellow River into Shansi, and westward
nine or ten days' march into Kansu.
In China the most satisfactory, one might almost say the only way
to shoot pheasants is by walking them up, over dogs if possible. There
is no need for driving, and I am glad to say that out here, at least,
we have none of the indiscriminate-slaughter kind of sportsmen, who,
detesting any kind of hard work, refuse to go after their game, and
whose main object is to kill as many birds as possible, with the least
exertion, and in the minimum space of time.
Almost everywhere in China pheasant shooting entails a fair
amount of walking and hill climbing, but how handsomely one may be
repaid for his labour the following anecdotes may serve to show.
Some twelve miles to the west of Tai-yuan Fu in Shansi, lies a
little hamlet named Sheng-yieh, situated at the head of a ravine in
some well wooded and mountainous country. Adjoining the hamlet is
a small temple, one room of which has been repaired, and made suit-
able for habitation by a public spirited resident of Tai-yuan Fu. It has
long been the custom for the shooting members of the community to
spend their shorter holidays shooting in the district. The mountains,
which rise rather abruptly from the plain, are formed of sedimentary
&4 PEASANT SHOOTING.
rocks, layers of mauve, maroon, yellow and green shale, interbedded
with coal seams, overlying heavy masses of blue limestone. Woods of
pine, spruce, birch and poplar stretch along many of the ridges, while,
elsewhere thick hazel scrub, dwarf oak or thorn brush afford good
cover. These patches of vegetation are interspersed with stretches of
bare crumbling rock, or once cultivated terraces, upon which thick, rank
grass and brambles grow in profusion. So wild is the spot, one can
completely forget that within half a day's march lies a great city, so
that it fulfils one of the chief requirements of a holiday resort.
It came about one fine afternoon early in the autumn
season, that three of us found ourselves riding westward with
the hopes of enjoying a restful change in a few days sport)
mid these delightful surroundings. Arrived at the temple, we
made ourselves comfortable, and early next morning commenced
our shooting. We found the pheasants reasonably plentiful, and en-
joyed ourselves thoroughly. Amongst other things a small flock of
eared-pheasants was raised, from which 1 I succeeded in bagging a fine
cock. Several woodcock were flushed, and one or two brought to bag,
while hares, after the first two or three that got up had been potted,
were ignored as being unworthy of further notice. One of our party
was a Frenchman, a tolerably good shot, and a most amusing fellow.
He put up a small pig towards the end of! the day, and was much an-
noyed when we told him he had only seen an unusually large hare.
Our chaff, however, brought woe in its train, for two days later, when
a really magnificent boar jumped up in front of our friend, sa determin-
ed was he that we should see it for ourselves, that he stood calling
to us instead of shooting, and the tusker escaped over the nearest
For several days we ranged the woods and pine spinnies, the
dense valley bottoms, or the higher rocky ridges. Most of the time
we carried rifles in the hopes of getting a pig or deer, but finally on
our last day we decided to devote our energies entirely to pheasants
and other small game.
By this time we knew exactly where all the best coverts were,
and so, as dawn broke, lost no time in getting to work. Our first beat
flushed a bouquet of some thirty or forty birds, from which we bagged
five, the two Britishers making a right and left each, while the French-
man secured a good cock. Our friend was not to be despised, however,
for he drew level and passed us in the next beat, when four more birds
were added to the bag. We were now at the end of a long rocky ridge.
In front and below us lay the bare loess foothills, while behind us
stretched a long pine wood. On either side were scrub-filled ravines,
F. W. WARRINGTON AND A MANCHURIAN EARED-
rif3ASANT SHOT NEAR TAI-YUAN Fu, SlIANSI.
PHEASANT SHOOTING. 95
and we decided to cross one of these. In descending the slope several
pheasants were put up, but escaped, as also did a couple of woodcocks.
When half way up the opposite slope, we commenced working over
some long-deserted terraces, and here we had the best sport of the day.
The scrub was just thick enough to shelter the birds, and not so thick
as to impede our progress. We did good shooting, finally reaching the
head of the valley with another ten birds between us. Crossing the
ridge at the top. we descended a second ravine, and again found our-
selves in the thick of it. Birds were getting up all round, and it was
only the approach of twilight, as the sun dipped behind the ridges, that
caused a falling off in our marksmanship. Three hares, breaking cover,
were easily secured, however, and a large covey of partridges also
supplied a couple of birds to the bag. When we finally stopped shoot-
ing, and headed for camp in the fast gathering gloom, we carried with
us the respectable bag of twenty-five pheasants, three hares and two
partridges. These added to our other bags, brought our total up to
about seventy head.
Last Chinese New Year a shooting party from Tientsin, which
I was kindly invited to join, had a very enjoyable week on the Tsin-
pu line. Stopping off at the San-chieh station (about one hours run
from Pu-kou) we shot over the surrounding hills with fair success for
three days. Considering that the district had been worked pretty con-
tinuously since the previous autumn, and that the Station Master him-
self had shipped four piculs of pheasants a day for a fortnight to the
Shanghai markets, pheasants were surprisingly numerous. There were
a great many quail ; in fact the quail shooting was liable to prove up-
setting to the nobler sport, but at least one never lacked something
to shoot at. Hares, also were quite plentiful, while waterdeer might be
put up at any moment from the reeds that fringed the streams along
the valley bottoms. At the heads of the valley, where the natives had
made small reservoirs to keep up a supply of water for their paddy
fields, large flocks of duck might be had.
The hills were low, and, except where the scrub had been burnt
away, afforded good cover. Our best day was when we beat through
the country half way between San-chieh and the next station south-
ward. We commenced by driving through some scrub-oak to the east of
the railway, where a couple of birds were bagged. Next, after crossing
some rather bare hills, we suddenly came upon a large bouquet of hand-
some cocks, out of which four were secured, before the last bird dis-
appeared over the ridge. Continuing, a couple of hares and some
quail were potted as we crossed a valley. We had now worked back
to the railway line, crossing which we traversed a wide valley. In
06 PHEASANT SHOOTING,
doing so we got rather scattered. My companions worked up the val-
ley, and I could hear their guns every now and again. Just as I reach-
ed the stream, I caught a glimpse of a water deer, scrambling round
a corner of the bank. It got away, however, before I could draw on it.
Turning down stream, I walked for some time through very pretty
cover, picking up a quail here and there, and securing another brace of
Finally I worked back to the railway, where the lunch-basket
coolies were waiting. One of these said he could show me where a
deer was, so off I went with him. Sure enough, within a couple of
hundred yards, we put up my water deer again out of some reeds. My
first barrel of fours only got its body, and it continued as if unhurt,
but my second, taking it in the head, brought it down with a thud.
Soon my companions arrived at the place of rendezvous, and we
counted the bag. It contained about six brace of pheasants, two
hares, one water deer and about fifteen quail. Our bags, we were told
by a local sportsman, were nothing compared with those which "had
been made in the same locality earlier in the season, but we were all
pleased enough, and two days later boarded the up bound train, feeling
that the week had not been wasted, and promising ourselves another
such outing, come next Chinese New Year.
PARTRIDGES like the quail, the peacock, the guinea-fowl and the
turkey belong to the great pheasant family, Phasianidae. It is re-
markable with how great a variety of game birds we are supplied
by this family, the members of which differ from the grouse in the
legs being naked and armed usually with spurs.
The Phasiianidae are again divided into three sub-families, namely,
the Phasianinae, which includes the pheasants (as dealt with in a pre-
vious paper), Perdicinae, which includes the Old World partridges and
quails, and Odontopliorinae, including the American partridges and
With the first we have already dealt, while the last need not
concern us for the present. This paper deals only with a few members
of the second, Perdicinae, though in passing it may be mentioned that
the last two sub-families include over one hundred and fifty distincc
The main characteristics of the partridges are (1) that in the wing
the tenth flight feather is shorter than the first, and (2) that the tail
is shorter than the wing. It will be seen on examination that the
quails come in this group, but I shall not deal with them in this paper,
confining my remarks to the two genera Perdix and Caccabis.
The genus Perdix is represented in Great Britain by the gjrey
partridge (Perdix cincrea), so familiar to all, and in China by two
species, the bearded partridge (P. daurica) and the Kansu partridge
(P. sifanicus). A fourth species, P. hodgsoni, is found in Southern
Thibet. These four species represent what may be called the true
partridges, the first two having eighteen tail feathers and the last two
The form common to most parts of China is the bearded partridge.
(P. daurica}, which very closely resembles the British common or
grey partridge, (P. cinerca). It is, however, more yellow in colour,
arid is remarkable for its very distinct beard of long feathers, depend-
ing from the throat. In size it about equals the grey partridge, though
it differs somewhat in its habits and haunts. It ranges all over North
China, across Mongolia into Siberia.
This bird inhabits all kinds of country. Coveys may be flushed
in the thick patches of sage brush on the open plains or away up on
the long, grassy slopes of the highest mountains up to an altitude of
9,000 or 10,000 feet. Unlike the chukar, it is perfectly silent, and,
at the first sign of danger, crouches down and lies very close. I have
sat for an hour within a few feet of a covey of these birds, which only
broke cover when I rose abruptly to go. Perdix sifanicus inhabits
In South China the partridge is replaced by the francolin. (Franco-
linus chinensis) a bird included in the same sub-family, but differing
from the true partridges in having one or more pairs of well developed
The red-legged partridges or chukars, which form the genus
Caccabis, differ very markedly from the members of the genus Perdix.
They are larger, and more strikingly coloured, and have very different
habits. They are mainly characterized by their conspicuous trans-
versely barred sides, a cream patch on the throat, edged with black,
and their red legs and beaks. The rest of their plumage is of a mauve-
grey, shading into light blue-grey on the breast, and buff under the
tails. The tail feathers, which number fourteen are of a bright brick-
There are several species in this genus. The representative
in Great Britain is known as the French partridge (Caccabis rufa), while
the form common to China is the chukar (Caccabis chukar), which
ranges from the Grecian Islands right across Asia into North-eastern
The chukar is essentially a bird of wild, rocky districts, though in
Shansi, Shensi and Kansu it also makes its home in the loess hills,
frequenting the deep ravines and gullies. From September till March
it may be found in great coveys, sometimes containing as many as
forty birds. Though, owing to its protective colouring,, it is extremely
difficult to detect in its natural surroundings, the chukar has a foolish
habit, of cackling, thus betraying its whereabouts to the hunter. In
districts where it is plentiful its aggressive cackle may be heard on all
sides, when a careful survey will usually reveal several rival cock birds
perched upon prominent rocks and spurs, giving full vent to their feel-
ings over the presence of an intruder. This characteristic call may bo
rendered by the three syllables "Gua ke he" repeated rapidly five cr
THE BEARDED PARTRIDGE (Perdix daurica).
THE CIIUKAR (Caccabis chultar).
In cultivated areas the chukar feeds upon gleanings from the fields,
but in wilder parts it lives upon mosses, lichens, berries and the tender
shoots of young plants.
It occurs wherever there are hills or mountains, though it does
not seem to care for altitudes over 8,000 feet. It is had country indeed
where the chukar is not to be found.
The eggs are laid in May, and in July the mothers may be seen
with their broods of ten or a dozen tiny chicks. The latter can fly in
August and by September are fully fledged, when as already stated
they gather into large coveys.
Throughout the winter these birds are in excellent condition,
forming a valuable contribution to the menu. A full grown male is
about the size of a hen pheasant. The Chinese name is Shih chi (Stone
In China partridge shooting; does not hold the place that it does in
Great Britain. The reason for this is chiefly that there is very little
of the right kind of cover, except in out of the way hilly or mountainous
districts. Cultivation in China differs very markedly from that at
home. The farmers spend a great deal more time in their fields,
usually raise two crops a year, and, unlike farmers at home, gather in
every stalk and blade of vegetation before the winter comes on. All
this is not calculated to encourage the partridges to leave their safe
home in the hills, and it is only when driven by hunger during a specially
cold winter that they will do so. Then, too, as already shown the
birds themselves differ considerably from those in Europe. The chukar
keeps to the steep loess hills and ravines, or precipitous rocky ridgas,
(while the bearded partridge is only plentiful on the open slopes of the
very higjh mountain ranges.
Thus he who wishes to indulge in partridge shooting must be
prepared to travel far and, owing to the nature of the country in-
habited by these birds, must be prepared to work hard. As a matter of
fact it is seldom that those, even, who live within easy reach' of part-
ridge coverts igo out specially for them, preferring rather to take them
as the chance offers when out after more profitable quarry.
Still one can recall several occasions when partridges formed the
main item during a days shoot, and as they were typical of what
the sport is like in this country they may be recounted.
One such day, especially, stands out in my memory. It was in
the early spring of 1910, when my wife and I were returning from a
winter's work in the mountains of Western Shansi. We had just
left behind some magnificent forest country, and were travelling down
the wide valley of the Fen Eiver. Chancing to look down from my
pony, I saw a large covey of bearded partridges, which had just
left the hill side to pick up grain from the road and stubble patches.
They saw me at. the same time, and commenced running for the
scrub covered slopes. I nipped off my pony, and walked towards
the- birds, which now rose with a whirr of wings. I bagged three
with my two barrels, the rest making good their escape up a side
ravine. Guessing that it would be a good day for partridges, I got
my wife to join me, and together we walked along the side of the
valley. Covey after covey got up, each yielding a bird or two. We
could have got more out of each covey if we had cared to climb the
hill sides, but the sport was quite good enough as it was. The peculiar
thing on this particular day was that the bearded partridges and
chukars were associating together. Notably was this the case in a
small side ravine where we had really excellent sport. A large covey
got up from some graves and entered the ravine, into which I follow-
ed them. Suddenly from all round me they broke cover, and I was
kept busy shooting and reloading as fast as I could. Meanwhile my
wife was at the mouth of the ravine taking, or trying to take those
birds that came whirring out. She succeeded in dropping a couple,
which was pretty good work, considering the rate they were going at.
I got five before the last crossed the top of the ravine, and then con-
tinued to follow them up. Once more putting them up in the next
ravine, I secured another couple. After that we gave up shooting,
and hurried on to our destination. Altogether we got fifteen partridges,
one hare and about twenty rock-doves that day.
About twenty miles east of Tai-yuan Fu, there is a village, tuck-
ed up against the side of some rather high hills. It is known as
T^-yeh-k'ou, and has long been famous to the foreign residents in
the city as being the best chukar ground in the district. Many a
time have I come down from the holiday resort further back in the
hills to the loess terraces just behind this village, and bagged four
or five birds in the course of an hour or so. The only reason why a
person, working alone as I was, does not get a larger bag, is that the
chukars, after the first shot or two, always cross the deep ravines to
the opposite slope, so that a long climb is necessary to come up with
them again. When, however, a party of four or five guns works over
such a piece of country, very handsome bags may be made.
One such party, including six guns returned from a week end
trip with some fifty head, the sportsman who had done best having
to his credit twenty birds. The actual time of shooting on that occa-
sion was an hour on the Saturday evening, and fronV dawn till J nbon J
on the Sunday, the rest of the time being occupied in getting to
and from the grounds.
When shooting chukar, one must mark down a wounded bird
very carefully, or it will be lost. Many very remarkable disappear-
ances have occurred. Once, having winged a bird, and, owing to
shortage of ammunition, not wishing to expend another cartridge on
it, I gave chase. The bird kept just out of reach, so finally I took
iny eyes off it as I stooped to pick up a stone. When I looked up
the bird was gone. It was on a bare hillside with next to no cover,
yet that bird had vanished as completely as if it had been swallowed
up in the earth. I went over the whole slope, foot by foot, but never
found my bird.
On another occasion I dropped one into a ravine, and, though I
carefully marked the spot where it fell before descending, it took me
half an hour to find it. It had posed itself beside a rock and looked
so exactly like a stone that I passed and repassed it several times.
The best sport may be had with these birds by using a dog, when
also one is not so likely to lose those brought down.
Localities accessible to Tientsin sportsmen are not very numerous.
The whole of Shansi and the provinces westward form good chukar
grounds, as also do all the mountainous districts of Chihli. Very
good chukar shooting may be had round Kalgan, and I believe there
are a few birds on the hills at Tong-ku. Peking sportsmen often get
them in the hills at Nankou.
QUAILS are the smallest of all game birds, though whether they
are the least sporting; is quite another question.
They belong to the genus Coturnix, which in turn is included in
the partridge sub-family of the pheasant family, and are characterized
by having the most extreme form of the partridge type of wing, which
means that the first flight feather is almost as long as the second and
very much longer than the tenth. Otherwise they are distinguishable
by their very much smaller size.
In all there are not more than about three species of Coturnix,
though there are a few closely related forms.
The common, or migratory quail (Coturnix communis) has a very
wide range indeed, being found all over Europe, in North Africa and
in Asia north of the Himalayas. Though it enters China, while on its
migrations, it is not the real inhabitant of this country. The quail
generally seen out here is the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica).
The only other member of this genus is Coturnix capensis found in
South Africa. Both of these two latter species interbreed with the
Locally we have another bird, which is very like the quail,
and which, from a sporting point of view might be classed with it.
I refer to the bustard-quail (Turnix). The local birds belong to
the species T. blanfordi. They are about the size of the
Japanese quail, but their plumage differs considerably. In general
colour the two species are not unlike one another, except that the male
of the bustard -quail is lighter and more reddish than either the male or
female of the Japanese quail, while the female of the former is very
much darker and more inclined to greyness than in either sex of the
latter. The chief difference in the plumage lies in the markings, which
take the form of longitudinal streaks and transverse bars in the Japan-
ese quail, while the feathers of the bustard-quail are marked with large
round dots of black. The beak of the latter is longer than that of the
former, but the most marked difference in the two species is the entire
absence of the hind toe in the bustard-quail. Another peculiarity in
the last mentioned species is that the female is larger and more richly
THE MANCHURIAN EARED-PHEASANT
THE BAIKAL OR SPECTACLED TEAL (Qiterquedula formosa).
THE QUAIL. 103
coloured than the male. This feature also occurs in the case of
the painted snipe, and it is a fact that the bustard-quails form
a connecting link between the pheasants and the rails, just as
the painted snipe is intermediate between the rails and the true
snipe. The quails in India all belong to the bustard-quail type.
The local species inhabits the long sedgegrass in and round marshy
districts, and not infrequently offers a shot when one is out after snipe.
Quail shooting as a sport reaches its height in North Africa, where
the sportsmen annually await the vernal and autumnal migrations with
impatience. During these seasons enormous bags are made. In Great
Britain very little is done in this line, though, I believe, an attempt is
being made to encourage the quail to breed in districts where other
game will not thrive.
As a matter of fact very good sport can be had from quail, though
shooting them is not nearly so difficult as is the case with most other
In China, where quails are plentiful, one can soon get very keen;
though where they mix with pheasants and other game birds, their
scent is so attractive to hounds, and they offer such tempting marks as
they rise and skim over the tops of the bushes, th.at they are apt to
spoil more serious sport.
Quails are prevalent all over North China, where there is flat open
country. They do not frequent hilly country except where the hills are
low and rolling. In Shansi they are very numerous in the wide river-
valleys. On the Tai-yuan Fu plain I have often had very good sport,
though I have never made big bags. There they are very useful in
filling up gaps in mixed bags. As one walks through the sage brush,
tall grass and bean patches looking for hare and partridges, one is
frequently startled by a whirr of tiny wings as a quail rises from one's
very feet. At the report of the ensuing shot a second bird almost
invariably gets up, offering another good chance.
In the winter of 1911, on our ride into Shensi, we found them very
numerous along the road side, a day's journey south west of Tai-yuan
Fu. Those of my companions who had shotguns had excellent sport, as
my pointer worked backward and forward in the long sedge-grass,
putting up bird after bird. Some dozen birds were secured thus in less
than half an hour, all the time that could be spared.
While camping on the banks of the Fen Ho in the same district,
I invariably had good sport with quails, while visiting my traps, usually
bringing home two or three brace. Here they would get up from bare
fields, or where the merest whisp of cover lay.
104 THE QUAIL.
Quail may be found round Tientsin, though they are not over
abundant. I believe the best place for them is behind the llussian
Concession. They; are fairly plentiful round Shan-hai-kuan, from, and,
beyond which place most o! the birds sold in the local markets come.
As mentioned in my. paper on pheasants we found them very
plentiful last winter in Anhui, along the southern section of the
Tsiiig-pu line, which district is certainly the best quail ground I have
yet encountered. Here they may be found in the shallow valleys, and
also upon the low hills, though they seemed most plentiful in the long
grass immediately bordering on the streams. It was an almost in-
variable rule, that the birds were in pairs, one usually getting up after
its mate had been flushed and shot at. These birds were of a good
size and very plump. During the week that we were in the district
fifty quail were bagged, and it must be understood that we only shot
quail when there was nothing else in view. Dozens of birds were
allowed to go unmolested lest pheasants should be put up out of range.
Ten to fifteen brace could easily be bagged a day in this locality, if a
man were to give his attention to it.
In shooting quail it should be remembered that their flight is very
much slower than it appears to be. Also their course is not erratic,
like that of the snipe, nor are they on the rise. After the first spring
into the air they keep pretty level, and if undisturbed will soon light
again. They should be allowed to get a fair distance before one pulls
on them, and if one is without a retriever, should be marked down at
once. Otherwise they are liable to be lost, their protective colouring
making them very difficult to find.
A quail that has once risen is very hard to flush a second time
without a dog. This is due to the fact that they run as soon as they
light, and one is apt to beat about in the wrong direction. As a rule
it is as well not to waste time in such cases, but to walk straight on
till another bird gets up.
In India the quail (bustard-quail) is chased on horse back. When
a bird gets up the riders pursue it at top speed. It out-distances them
and alights, but is soon put up again. Each time its flight is shortened
till at last it refuses to fly, when a careful search will reveal it crouch-
ing on the ground. It may then be taken by hand.
Quails are charming little birds to have in an aviary, and very soon
become tame. Being ground birds they keep to the bottom of the cage
and do not interfere in any way with the other inmates. They are
very easy to keep. The Chinese use them for fighting,, pitting one cock
against another, and betting on the result. The birds display a
considerable degree of pugnacity in these encounters.
PERHAPS the finest of all game birds are the bustards, several very
large species of which occur in different parts of the world. The
larger kinds may well be classed as big game, for apart from their
magnificent appearance, they offer splendid sport, especially in a flat
country where they are plentiful. Birds of a fine species inhabit,
during the winter months, many a broad valley and plain,
such as those on which the capitals of Shansi and Shensi lie. Here
they feed in large flocks, often numbering twenty or thirty head. A
particularly fine stretch of country for them lies to the north west of
the chain of high mountains that runs from Ning-wu Fu in Shansi
down the western part of that province past Tai-yuan Fu and Fen-
chow Fu. Here the country is undulating, and consists of low grassy
hills and cultivated fields, and in a day's ride one may see ten or a
dozen flocks without straying far from the road.
The open nature of the country on which it is found, together with
the keen sight of the bustard make it a very difficult bird to approach.
Its great height enables it to overlook many of the small banks and ridges
of earth that mark the boundaries of the fields, and even if the sports-
man succeeds in approaching his quarry under cover of some water-
course or sunken road, the moment he shows himself to take aim, the
watchful birds spy him, and take to their wings.
To attempt hunting bustards on foot is almost useless, besides
being exceedingly tiring; for unless one is in country where they are
particularly plentiful one often has to cover a large tract before even
seeing the game. Another thing is that they suspect any person on foot
of mischievous intent far more readily than they do a man on horse back.
For bustard hunting 1 would advise the use of a rifle in preference
to a shot gun, as one seldom gets near enough to make the latter weapon
effective. However, with a little luck one can sometimes bring down
106 THE BUSTAED.
a bird or too with the shot gun, by charging on horse back at racing speed
into a flock, taking flying shots as they get under weigh.
Armed with a good rifle or carbine, mounted on a strong but quiet
China pony, and accompanied by an attendant, also well mounted, one
is ready for the chase. Some previous knowledge of the favourite spots
of the local birds is necessary. Sandy river beds and the cultivated
fields bordering them are generally worth exploring. By keeping the
ponies at a comfortable trot one can cover a lot of 1 country in a remark-
ably short time, and can at the same time keep a sharp look out for any
sign of the quarry. If possible ride with the back to the sun, in which
case the sunny side of the bustard is presented to the hunter, and the
white of the wing and breast can be seen at a great distance. If the
shady side is presented to the sportsman, he will often fail to see the
birds till they have become alarmed at his approach, and take to their
Having sighted the birds, the sportsman should halt and take a
careful survey of the surrounding ground, looking out for irrigation canals
or any other cover. If there is none the best thing for him to do is to
make a big circuit round the bustards, gradually drawing nearer till
within range. Then, handing the reins of his pony to the attendant,
and slipping out of the saddle on the side away from the flock, he should
allow the man to ride on with the horses, who should at once begin to
edge away. This device deceives the wary birds, whose united gaze is
concentrated on the horses. It fools them into the belief that they are
not going to be molested, and, if the dismounting has been neatly done
without any commotion, and the hunter has dropped flat on his belly,
the bustards will not notice him and will resume their feeding. He can
then carefully select his bird and take his time about aiming. Needless
to say, accurate shooting is very necessary, for Che vulnerable area of
the bustard is far less than the mark presented. It is almost useless
trying to get a second bird out of the same flock on the same day ;
indeed it is difficult to get a second shot if the first fails. For my
part I feel very satisfied if I return at the end of the day with a single
bird hanging from my saddle, for bustard shooting is one of the most
difficult of sports.
If the birds take to their wings before one has had time to fire,
one should get to horse with all speed and follow them, not being dis-
couraged if they seem to vanish over the horizon. A bird in the air is
a most 'deceptive thing and it looks a great deal farther off than it
really is. Many times I have watched a flock of bustards fly out of
sight and then, jumping upon my pony, have come upon them within
a mile or so.
THE BUSTAKD. 107
Perhaps the recounting of a few experiences would serve better to
give the reader some idea of bustard hunting than the above general
Never shall I forget my first bustard. I was travelling in Shensi
at the time and we were nearing Si-an Fu. My companion had had
the misfortune to sprain his ankle severely some days before, and was
obliged to keep to the saddle, so that when we reached some flat country
where bustards were plentiful, it fell to my lot to secure one for the
pot. Several times I tried stalking the wary birds, but without success.
Once I managed to get within twenty yards of a flock, but, though I
emptied both barrels of my shotgun into the nearest bird, I could not
bring iti down.
We then resorted to the method I have just described. My com-
panion took the reins of my pony and we described a circle round a
large flock, slowly drawing nearer till within about one hundred and
fifty yards. At this point we passed behind some graves. I seized the
opportunity to slip off my pony, and, with the graves between me and
the birds, managed to get a few yards nearer. Then, resting my rifle on
the top of a grave, I fired, and was delighted to see a bird collapse in a
heap. My delight was somewhat lessened, when I found that I had
hit the bird in the head, which was some ten or twelve inches higher
than I had aimed. Still the bird was there and it tasted well when
A year later I successfully performed the same feat, this time
accompanied by my wife. We were travelling over the flat country
west of Ning-wu Fu in Shansi. All day we had been trying to get
within range of some bustards, but each time had met with failure.
Once I managed to sneak up a little watercourse to within range, but
before I could take aim the birds began to fly off. Another time I was
creeping along the ground towards a flock, when two Chinese with a
donkey came in the opposite direction, and when I rose to my knees to
take aim the birds had gone and in their place were two grinning asses
and one sober one. My feelings on that occasion can better be
imagined than described. Once again I was approaching a flock, when
a native came blundering along, upsetting my calculations, so that I
only knocked the tail off my bird as it rose. This last flock flew over
a low ridge and we followed it in the hope that the bird I had hit might
be more severely wounded than we supposed. We failed to find that
flock again, but just as we were about, to return to the road to continue
our journey, my eye caught a gleam of light about half a mile away
on a gentle slope. ,We turned our ponies in that direction and soon
found my conjectures to be correct. Six or seven magnificent birds
108 THE BUSTARD.
were quietly feeding in a ploughed field. We rode as if to pass them,
and, when within about one hundred yards of them, I slipped out
of my saddle, and crouched low. My wife rode on leading my pony,
while I covered a couple of birds that stood close together. Slowly
advancing I kept my rifle sight on the birds, and just as they spread
their wings to fly, fired and brought one down. It was a beautiful bird
weighing a little over 18^ Ibs.
The following day we tried the same experiment several times
without success. The ponies were too fresh and restive, and would not
allow me to dismount without capering about, so that the birds took
alarm each time. Two days later I secured another 18 pounder and
then two others weighing 17 Ibs. and 14 Ibs. respectively.
A bit of stalking that gave me particular satisfaction at the time
and still does as I call it to mind was brought off on the Tai-yuan Fu
plain. Two of us were out after hares, and as we drove through the
sage brush a flock of bustards was seen coming in the opposite direction.
The birds flew past us,- and settled about a quarter, of a mile away on a
sandy flat near the river. My servant was with me carrying my rifle,
so I decided to attempt a shot. 1 was able to make about a hundred
yards on foot owing to a slight depression in the ground, but from there
on I was forced to creep on my hands and knees through the under
brush, which was, by the way, far from thick. It was tiring work,
but at last I reached the spot, from which I had hoped to take my shot.
The bustards had, however, flown another hundred yards up the river
so I was forced to continue on hands and knees still further. A bare
field in front of me made it necessary to make a rather long detour in
order to escape observation, but at last 1 got within range, and could
just see one bird between the bushes ahead of me. After a few mo-
ments rest 1 took a long and careful aim, bringing down my bird with
a shot right through the body.
Once again while out ofter geese on the iSi-an Fu plain in Shensi I
came upon a couple of bustards. I was alone, and there was absolutely
no cover, so hobbling my pony, I advanced upon the birds. They
walked away from me, but did not attempt to fly and at last I was
within sixty yards of the larger, when I managed to shoot it through
the body. It rose into the air, and flew some three hundred yards,
before it came heavily to the ground, and lay dead.
It will thus be seen that with bustards, as with most other game,
one can not work entirely by rule, but must depend upon the circum-
stances of each case and one's own judgment to decide how to proceed.
The Chinese distinguish two kinds of bustards in North China. One
is a large bird weighing anything from fifteen to twenty pounds. It is
characterized by the tail feathers being brown and white, tipped with
black, and it is seldom seen in flocks consisting of more than five or six
THE BUSTARD (Otis dybowskii).
Ttis is referrable to the species Otis dybowskii. It is very, much
like the great bustard (0. tarda). One I saw weighed 28 Ibs. They
very frequently weigh from 15 Ibs. to 20 Ibs. The Chinese call this
bird "Yang-pu" (Sheep bustard) as opposed to the smaller "Chi-pu"
(Hen bustard). The latter is not really distinct, being nothing more
than the females or young males of the former.
The Chinese hunt the bustard by digging pits in the ground, and
setting out decoys. They will sit patiently in these pits day after day,
and feel repaid for their labour if they secure two or three birds a
week. The decoys are made from the skins of bustards, which are
stuffed with straw and stuck upon sticks. The life-like nature of these
dummies once gave rise to an amusing incident, which befell a party
of us, while out shooting on the Tai-yuan Fu plain.
We had been after geese all the morning, and had not done badly,
so that, when three bustards were sighted, we hailed the idea of a
bustard each as a welcome change. Accordingly we dismounted from
our ponies, and began a long and careful stalk. One of our party was
110 THE BUSTABD.
armed with a .22 repeating Winchester rifle, and we decided that, when
within range, he should fire first, while the other, two of us should take
the remaining birds as they rose. At last, after toiling over the
muddy ground in the broiling sun, we were within range, and our
friend of the rifle took careful aim and fired. Nothing happened so
he fired again. Next moment a face appeared over the edge of
a low ridge, and a voice asked, in amused tones, what we were doing.
It was not till then that we discovered that we had been stalking some
decoys. That time the laugh was with the Chinaman.
Allied to the bustard, almost as good eating and quite as difficult
to shoot, is the edible crane. In some places this bird is very numer-
ous, and can be hunted in the same way as the bustard.
One of the most delightful spots for birds that I have come across
in my wanderings was some flat grassy country situated near the
southern border of the Ordos. For miles around the country was aii
arid sandy desert, but here, where a few marshy lakes existed, the
flats were dotted over with huge flocks of cranes and bustards, geese
wandered in pairs in every direction, while the surface of the water
was alive with thousands of ducks, whose wings made a noise like
thunder as they rose at our approach. Plovers, curlews and other
waders filled the air with their plaintive calls. Unfortunately we
had a long way to go that day, so that we could not spare the time
to stop and shoot.
The bustard leaves the warmer plains in the spring and flies
northward to the breeding grounds in Northern Mongolia and Siberia,
so that it can only be hunted during the colder months.
TOWARDS the end of February or early in March, when the north
bound sun begins to thaw the ice and snow of winter, with it come the
first few bands of geese, the advance guard, as is were, of a mighty host.
Later, when the spring freshets, coming down from the mountains with
irresistible force, burst up the yielding ice, and, grinding the
great slabs into fragments, send them whirling and crashing down
the river, till they vanish in the angry floods of the flat lands, then
come the honking battalions of the main army. Immense chains of
geese pass ever northward : huge flocks in serried ranks feed on the
fields of young wheat ; while the sandy flats at noon are black with their
The heart of the farmer sinks within him as he sees field after field
shorn of its emerald coat, but that of the sportsman bounds with- joy as
the spirit of spring enters his soul, and, seizing his gun, he sallies forth
to pit his cunning and skill against those of the cleverest of birds. Who
so glad as he, as he tramps over ploughed field and sandy flat early
on a fine spring morning, his faculties all alert, planning how best he
may come within range of his quarry? His eyes search the plains for
irrigation canals wherein he may hide and await the long V-shaped lines
that he knows will pass presently over his head. He keeps a sharp look
out for dykes, along which he may creep till within range of some
unsuspecting flock greedily plucking up the tender blades of wheat.
Whether one uses shot gun or rifle there are few sports that excol
that of igoose shooting. The size of the game together with the skill
and judgment required to bring it down, make the heart of the hunter
swell with pride when he returns home after a long day's tramp or ride
with a good bag. The experienced huniter seldom returns without
three or four geese, while occasionally a cartload has been the boasted
bag of an enthusiast in a good piece of country.
112 WILD GEESE.
There are some eight species of geese known to occur in North
China. Of these the bean goose (Anser segetum) and its allies the thick-
billed goose (A. serrirostris) and the long-billed goose (A. middendorffi)
are the commonest. These three birds very closely resemble
each other. The first is the common goose most frequently
shot by sportsmen, and which occurs so plentifully in the
local markets in winter. The thick-billed goose may be dis-
tinguished by its greater size and its very much thicker bill, while the
long-billed goose is distinguishable by its much longer till. In all three
the plumage is almost identical. The grey goose (4. rubirostris) is
a still larger bird, with a greyer plumage. It may also be recognized
by its pinkish legs and beak, the legs of the other three species being
of a fine orange, and their beaks black with an orange band.
Next come the white-fronted goose (A. albifrons) and the little
white-fronted goose (A. erythropus), both small birds at once distinguish-
able by the white patch upon the forehead. These are rather rare in
North China, keeping more to the sea coast while on their migrations.
The swan goose (A. cygnoides) is another rather rare goose. This
is the ancestar of the Chinese domestic goose, and is remarkable for its
very long slender neck and fine markings.
Finally the brent goose (A. nigricans), which occurs in Japan, must
be recorded as a straggler to the Chinese coast. It has been shot at
Wei-hai-wei and also in Fuchow. This bird is easily distinguishable
from all the foregoing on account of its grey plumage, and black head
and neck, marked with white.
The bean goose, so called from its habit of feeding entirely upon
grain, is a handsome bird weighing from four to seven pounds. It is
seen in North China during the spring and autumn, on its way to and
from the breeding grounds in the far nortlhl.
While migrating it follows the courses of the larger rivers and is then
much hunted by Chinese for the sake of its feathers. The (method
employed is similar to that used with the bustard, but without the
decoys. A deep pit is dug close to the river, and in this the Chinese
hunter waits till a flock passes or settles within range, when he tries to
bring one down with his long barrelled gun.
No doubt there are some Europeans with a sufficient stock of
patience to follow the example of the worthy Celestial, but such* sport
can appeal to few, whereas pursuing and stalking the goose on foot
or on horseback, combining as it does, healthful exercise with the enjoy-
THE BEAN GOOSE (Anser scgetum).
THE BEAN GOOSE. A SEVEN POUNDER.
WILD GEESE, 113
ment of shooting, cannot fail to rouse the energetic instincts of members
of the white races.
Goose shooting is better enjoyed when shared with two or three
congenial companions, besides being greatly facilitated. The party
should ride out to the hunting grounds, when the ponies should be left
in charge of an intelligent native, who will watch the sportsmen and
have the ponies in readiness for immediate use, without interfering
\vith the game.
If the day is not, far advanced and the air cool, the geese will be
found flymg to and fro within easy range from the ground in search of
suitable feeding places. They have been flying probably all night, and,
being anxious to secure food and rest, will fall an easy prey to the sports-
men, especially if the latter have concealed themselves behind some
dyke or other.
This will not last long, however, and it becomes necessary to stalk
the geese that have settled in large flocks in every direction on the fields
of young wheat. The wily birds always keep a sentinel on guard,
generally an o'ld and experienced gander. It is then that the advantage
of three or four guns is seen. By the hunters surrounding the geese
and slowly advancing upon them, the latter become flustered, not being
able to choose in which direction to fly. As they rise they are
sure to pass close over one or other of the guns offering
an easy mark. This process can be repeated till towards
noon, when the geese, having satisfied their hunger, fly down to
the nearest river or lake to drink and rest. It is then impossible
to approach them, and the sportsmen had better abandon the chase
for the day, or wait till late in the afternoon, when the geese once
more take to their wings, and prepare to continue their journey north-
ward or southward according to the season.
When geese are particularly shy it becomes necessary to resort to
stratagem. A native cart is not feared by them, and by hiring one
of these and using it as a cover while the carter drives close to the
game, one can often make a bag when most other methods have failed.
In country where geese are plentiful they can often be secured
by riding at a dead gallop up to them and shooting into the brown of
the flock as the birds rise.
With a rifle one can do very well, for though a single goose presents
but a small mark, they crowd so closely together that a well-directed
ball seldom fails to knock out a bird. Needless to say this method is
too dangerous, except when one is alone.
114 WILD GEESE.
The Tai-yuan Fu plain is a very good place for goose shooting and
I have enjoyed many a day's outing in company with one or another
of the foreign residents in that city. We used to ride ; out
to the river and slowly . work along its course for eight or 1 ten miles.
On one of these expeditions three of us, armed with shot guns and rifles,
and having a Peking cart with us, enjoyed particularly good sport.
The cart came into play in one place with good effect. A flock was
sighted near the river so that we could not surround it, being able to
approach from one direction only. There was no cover so we direct-
ed the carter to drive as if to pass the flock. This he did while we
kept out of sight behind the cart. When in line with the geese we
rushed out and let fly, as t'he startled birds rose, bringing down a
bird each We also brought down several birds as they passed over-
head earlier in the day, while later on we successfully stalked a large
flock along a dry irrigation ditch. The bag totalled some dozen head
Geese are hard birds to kill, being very tenacious of life. They
will often fly for long distances, though severely wounded. When a
flock has been fired at, the marksman should always watch it out of
sight, and, if he sees one bird leave the rest, he may know that it is
wounded, and, following it up, is likely to find it dead in the fields.
As an example of this, take the following incident. I was out
hunting with my wife along the Fen Ho near Tai-yuan Fu. We had
been having good sport with hare and quail, and were returning to
our camp. Just as we crossed a dyke that ran along the edge of a
deep irrigation canal, we saw several lines of geese approach-
ing us. I ran back to the dyke, and crouched behind it till
the geese were directly overhead, when I fired, first at one goose and
then at another in rapid succession. The line continued unbroken for
a bit, but presently I noticed one bird break away and fly across the
river. It, described a wide circle as it slowly descended, and finally
struck the ground, rolling over and over. Marking the spot I hurried
back to send a man to fetcb my goose. There ensued an argument as
to where the goose was, my wife declaring it to be in one direction,
while I was equally positive that it was in another. We decided to
send the man to both places, and to our surprise and delight he re-
turned wi.th two geese. Both my shots had told, and my wife had
watched one of the wounded birds, while I watched the other.
On another occasion I fired at a flock of geese with my rifle. I saw
the dust caused by the bullet striking the ground beyond the geese,
WILD GEESE. 115
which rose and flew northwards. I was about to turn away, when I
noticed one goose leave the others and fly down to the river about a
quarter of a mile away. I hurried to the spot, and sure enough there
was a fine goose lying dead with a hole right through its body.
Once when two of us were out for a day's sport along the banks
of the Fen Ho we found that the geese were very wild. We could not
approach them, so we devoted our time to smaller game. At last we
turned our ponies' heads homewards, and were riding along, chatting
as we went, when suddenly a flock of geese rose on our right, and tried
to cross in front of us, as they flew towards the river. Noticing that
they were keeping low I set spurs to my pony and he bounded forward.
The geese saw me coming and tried to swerve away, but they were
too late, and, letting drive at them with both barrels, I knocked out
a couple. A little while later my friend successfully brought off a
beautiful long shot with his rifle.
A little over a year ago (1909) I enjoyed an excellent day's sport
out on the Si-an Fu plain. The geese were particularly plentiful there.
I was alone, and had my rifle and shot gun with me. A cart had been
hired for the day, but I found the geese were quite easy to approach
without it. The wind was a bit troublesome and spoilt several rifle
shots, but I managed to bag five geese during the morning. At noon
they cleared off to the mud flats of the river so I devoted my attention
for a little while to some ducks. Later on a hare came in for a fatal
dose of shot, and was added to the bag; while the day's proceedings
wound up with a successful shot at a fifteen pound bustard.
Number One Shot is the best to use for geese, while either a 12 or
16 bore gun can be used. The latter weapon sometimes does better
work than the former for it hits harder. I was out with a friend one
day, who carried a 16 bore shotgun, while I used a 12 bore. The geese
were rather shy, and we could not get very close. Nevertheless, my
friend never failed to bring down his bird out of each flock that we
stalked, while I had to be content with a few feathers. That I was not
missing was proved by the feathers that came floating down each time
I fired. It was simply that tihie range was too great for my gun, but not
for the 16 bore. We were using the same make of cartridge.
If a rifle is to be used, then one with a fairly heavy bore should
be chosen. A high velocity rifle is too dangerous to use on the plains
of North China, as one can never be sure where the ball will fetch up.
One may find oneself in trouble for having let daylight through a native
or his cow. A small, ; light bore rifle will not easily kill a goose.
The finest spot that I know of in North China is undoubtedly the valley
116 WILD GEESE.
of fhie Wei Ho, the river on which is situated the capital of Shensi.
During my stay in those parts my larder never lacked game. Wild
ducks, also, were particularly plentiful, while bustards and cranes were
to be found in large flocks. I have seen photographs of enormous bags
made in this district, in fact one might look upon the country surround-
ing Si-an Fu as a sportsman's paradise. Immediately south of this
plain there stretches a range of precipitous mountains. At one extrem-
ity of this range is ,the famous Hua Shan, and at the other the mighty
Tai-pei Shan, which rises to a height of 12,000 ft. Along these moun-
tains can be found the serow (a species of goat-like antelope), the takin,
the wild boar, the stag, the roedeer and the goral, to say nothing
of smaller game.
A collector friend, writing to me from this district, said that they
had in their larder at tlhie time of writing the following kinds of game :
goat-ox, goat-antelope, venison, wild boar, goose, duck, pheasant
Before closing this paper, I must just mention the swan, three
species of which have been recorded in China. The first, and com-
monest is the whistling swan (Cygnus musicus). This is a magnificent
bird, which may be seen in small flocks from time to time. A few
Europeans have been fortunate enough to secure one, but it falls to
the lot of most sportsmen only to view them from a distance. In
the winter of 1912-13 swans of this species occurred in enormous
numbers in certain districts in Southern Anhui. Here they might be
seen, literally in thousands upon certain flooded areas, but they proved
absolutely unapproachable, only one European being fortunate enough
to secure one with . a rifle shot.
The second species is C. jankowskii, and is considerably smaller
than the foregoing. The plumage is pure white, while the base of the
beak is of a pale yellow, not orange-yellow as in C. musicus. It occurs
Th& other species (C. olor) has been recorded only twice, once in
North China and once on the Yang-tze.
As the sportsman traverses moor and fen in quest of this wary game,
or crosses the inland lakes during some week-end trip, he frequently
sees birds belonging to the great family of Anatidae, which, though he
recognises for something he can certainly include under the heading of
duck, yet fails to further identify; nor does he know anything of
their habits, except that annually they pass to and from the great breed-
ing grounds somewhere in the far north'.
The object, then, of these few remarks, is to assist local sportsmen
in the identification of some of the many peculiar looking ducks that
will doubtless fall to their guns this season. Often a very rare bird goes
to swell some fowler's bag, with only a passing comment; whereas an
intelligent recognition of the numerous species met with adds greatly
to the interest and enjoyment of a day's sport.
First amongst Asiatic and European ducks is the common wild duck
or mallard (Anas boscas). This handsome bird heads the list not merely
because of its superiority from a gastronomic point of view, but because
it is par excellence a sporting bird. It is more numerous than any of
the other species (except perhaps the common teal), and whether
stalking, flight shooting, or the use of decoys be resorted to, it offers
the best sport. There is no need to describe the appearance of this
familiar bird. It is the ancestor of nearly all our domestic breeds,
which fact, alone testifies to the superiority of its flavour.
Breeding in the far north, it often winters in the milder parts of
the northern provinces of China, and may be found in enormous numbers
in Honan, and South-central Shensi. Especially is it numerous in the
Wei Valley and along the Yellow Kiver in these two provinces. Here
record bags may be made from November to February, without resort-
ing to any of the many methods usually employed by fowlers. One has
but to walk over the rice fields or along the streams, debouching from
the mountains, and take the ducks as they rise. Several birds may be
brought down with each shot, so thickly 3o they crowd upon the narrow
118 WILD DUCKS.
The food of the mallard, consists as does that of most other species,
of the seeds and shoots of water weeds, and the gleanings of the paddy
fields. At night they will even feed upon the corn fields, though dawn
always finds them once more in the vicinity of water.
Next to the mallard comes the equally common and well known
teal (Querquedula crecca). An interesting fact about birds generally may
here be noted. It is that the members of those species which are con-
sidered the best eating, are usually more numerous than those whose
flesh is inferior or worthless. It is so with the ducks, and also with
the snipe. The mallard and teal are certainly more numerous than any
other kind of duck, while it is equally certain that during a day's snipe
shooting one sees more snipe than members of any other species. In
good scrub country what bird occurs in greater numbers than the
pheasant, or in tihe loess hills than the partridge? What non-edible
birds, except the crows perhaps, does one see in such vast numbers ag
the wild goose, the quail, the sandgrouse or the rockdove?
To return to our subject: the teal, like the mallard, is so well
known that a description is needless. It is sufficient to say that where
the mallard is found, there also will the teal be : the (two species follow
each other, and may often be seen in one large flock together. They
arrive earlier than any of the other ducks and stay longer.
There is a peculiar satisfaction in browning a flock of teal, which
is often the only way of getting them, for they fly so fast, and keep so
close together that it is impossible to pick out single birds. Teal occur
in larger flocks than any other duck, and may sometimes be numbered
in thousands, though this is usually when several large flocks join
together in a long migration.
It is difficult to decide which of all the numerous species should
come next in the list, and 1 shall not attempt to arrange them, but
take them haphazard, just as one might do while sitting comfortably
or uncomfortably behind some sheltering rushes, as the unsuspecting
birds come whistling over-head at dusk or dawn.
The pin-tail duck (Dafila acuta) is another well known species,
with its exceptionally long frrown and white neck, long pointed tail,
and grey vermiculated plumage. This species is good eating, and in
places is very numerous. It winters, however, very much further south
than is usual with the two foregoing species. The female, in common
with all wild ducks is smaller than the male, and of an inconspicuous
Not unlike the pintail is the long-tailed duck (Harclda glacialis).
This is a very rare bird. Its plumage is mostly white, the breast, back
and wings being black.
WILD DUCKS. 119
The golden-eye (Clangula glauciori), so called because of its bright
yellow staring eye, is also very common, though it is nob often that a
male of this species is brought to bag. This is due chiefly to the
unusual fact that the ducks greatly outnumber the drakes. Also the
drakes are very much shyer, and fly faster than do the ducks.
The drake is of a shiny blue-black colour with a white breast,
white-barred wings, and with a white dot on the side of the head. It is
somewhat smaller than the mallard. Its beak is short and thick, more
like that of a goose, while the body is very flat, the legs seeming to
stick out from the sides. The duck is of a brown-black colour, with a
brown head and white only on the wings, and under-parts.
This species invariably feeds upon certain weeds that grow at the
bottoms of ponds or backwaters, and consequently has to dive for its
food. It stays under water for minutes at a time, so that, if the fowler
can creep up to a flock feeding, he may get shot after shot as those
birds under water, unaware of what is happening, come leisurely to the
surface for air, and then, taking to their wings, offer excellent marks.
In this way a friend and I once got seven birds out of a flock of fifteen.
Even when disturbed these ducks will often circle over the pond offering
several shots before they leave for some safer locality. The flesh of
this bird is very good eating, and is covered with an unusually thick
layer of fat.
The shoveller (Spatula clypeata) may readily be recognised by its
unusually large and broad beak, from which indeed it derives its name.
The male is a very handsome bird with its dark green metallic-lustered
head, white breast, red-brown belly and sides, delicate blue-grey wing
coverts, green-barred wings and orange legs and eyes. The female is
of an uniform mottled brown. The flesh of this species is not very
palatable, being of a course oily flavour.
In the interior Swinhoe's duck (Anas zonorhyncha) is very* com-
mon, and it is the only duck that breeds so far south as North Shansi,
and Chihli. It is of a general brown colour, resembling that of the
female mallard. Its breast and lower parts are very much darker,
however, while its legs are of a bright orange-red colour, and there is
an orange band on the otherwise black beak. It is somewhat larger
than the mallard, and has a very much longer neck. Its flesh is
excellent. This species is undoubtedly the ancestor of the large brown
and white, upright-standing ducks, which, fattened by forced feeding,
form so important a dish at a Chinese feast. These birds can only be
shot along the rivers and in the marshes of North Shansi and Inner
Mongolia, very late in the season, for like the cuckoo they arrive from
the south very late, and are off again comparatively early. Round
120 WILD DUCKS.
Tientsin they are plentiful as early as the latter part of August, a few
also breeding in the vicinity.
The foregoing six species are the commoner varieties found in
North China. We now come to some of the less common ducks. Of
these the falcated teal (Unetta falcata) is one of the handsomest though
not the rarest. It has a dark green head and crest, which reflects a
coppery sheen in the sunlight. The breast is grey, closely barred with
black, the sides vermiculated while the black and wings are handsomely
marked with black and white. Another species is the Mandarin duck
(Aex galericulata). The Mandarin duck is smaller than the falcated teal
and has a very pretty hood, and large orange coloured feathers, which
stand up from the back like miniature wings, giving the bird an unreal
appearance. It is peculiar, in that it will light on trees, and even builds
its nest in hollow trunks. I found these birds breeding freely this
summer, along the streams and rivers of the Manchurian forest country.
The mothers showed great devotion in the care of their broods, and
would readily expose themselves within striking distance in their efforts
to engage my attention, while their young ones escaped into the thick
underbrush that lined the streams. The call of these birds is a peculiar
whistling note, repeated rapidly as they fly, low and swift, over the
water from one feeding place to another.
The pochard (Nyroca ferina) is another handsome but rare duck
(at, least in North China.) It is characterized, and may readily be
recognized by its red-brown head and grey vermiculated body feathers.
At home, this duck ranks with the mallard as a game bird, and the far
famed canvas-back of America is only a large kind of pochard.
Another rather rare duck is the Baikal or spectacled teal (Quer-
quedula formosd). This bird is larger than the common teal, has a
beautifully marked head, (dark green and buff), pale pinkish-buff breast
dotted with black, while the wing coverts are formed of long curved
pointed feathers, divided longitudinally into buff and a rich red-brown,
by a black median line. I found this species very common in Anhui
last winter, and it is sometimes shot in this locality.
The wigeon (Chaulelasmus streperus) the summer teal or garganey
(Querquedula circia), the tufted duck (Fuligula cristata) the \vhite-eyed
pochard (F. fenuginosa) also occur. Of these the summer teal is
perhaps the most note-worthy as it appears in great numbers after all
the other duck have gone northward. It closely resembles the female
of the common teal, but can always be distinguished by the pronounced
white eyebrow, and slatey-blue colour of the back.
There are two species of sheldrakes (or sheld-ducks) which some-
times appear during the migrations. Of these the ruddy sheldrake
WILD DUCKS, 121
(Casarca ferrugina) is the more common. This handsome bird is charac-
terized by its snowy white head, rich orange breast and back, and black
and white wings marked with a broad green band. It is about the size
of a small goose, but unfortunately! its flesh is utterly uneatable. It is
very common during the winter in South Shensi and Honan. In
migrating it follows the courses of. the large rivers, and may be seen in
flockg of a dozen or so resting out on the mud flats.
The common sheldrake (Tadorna cornuta), differs from the fore-
going species in having a dark green head, and only a little orange en
the breast and wing coverts. The rest of the body is white, except for
the black primary feathers and the glossy green band of the wings.
This species is more of a sea duck than the other, its flesh being quite
Both species breed in Mongolia, where they have their nests in deep
horizontal tunnels. The ruddy sheldrake resorts to rocky cairns, while
the common sheldrake prefers the tussocky shores of lakes.
Another sea duck' is the velvet scoter (Cidemia carbo), which is
entirely black except for its bright red and orange coloured bill and legs.
Finally we come to the Mergansers, peculiar narrow-billed birds,
which scarcely look like ducks at all. The largest of these is the
goosander (Mergus castor), which is characterized by a dark green
head, long narrow, serrated beak, ending in a sharp hook, delicate rose
coloured breast, dark back and pied wings. This bird is about the size
of a goose, and is very handsome in appearance, though the flesh is of
a poor flavour. Like the other members of' this genus the goosander is
a good diver, while the formation of the bill suggests a fish diet.
The red-breasted merganser (Mergus serator) resembles the goo-
sander in shape, though it is considerably smaller. It has a red beak
similar in shape to that of the latter, reddish-orange legs, dark green
head, white collar, black, dark brown and grey upper parts, reddish
brown breast, white underpants, and white upon the wing. It is
decidedly more common than the goosander, and I have seen it in the
mountain valleys of western Shansi in mid-winter, where open holes
in the ice-bound stream provided the means of securing food.
Lastly there is the smew (Mergus albellus) a small, almost entirely
white duck, which inhabits the sea shore, rather than inland watering
places. It also has the serrated bill.
This list does not pretend to be exhaustive on the question of
ducks, but local sportsmen are hardlyi likely to come across any other
species of duck even if they are lucky enough to secure specimens of
all those mentioned.
122 WILD DUCKS.
It is almost presumptuous of me to offer any tips to Tientsin
sportsmen on duck shooting, for many of them have years of experience
behind them. Still, to beginners, the following hints may be of help.
No. 4 shot is perhaps the best s'ize for duck, used in a 12 bore gun
with left barrel full "choke." When shooting never fire at birds
coming head on, but wait till they are just past, and then choose
birds which are side on, noifc dead overhead. The reason for this is
two-fold. First an on-coming duck presents only its chest as a mark,
and the thick feathers pointing backwards cause the shot to glance off.
Secondly such shot as enter find their way only into the thick muscles
of the breast and do no vital damage. On the other hand, shot reach-
ing the bird from behind, below or to one side, travel up the feathers,
do not glance off, and find lodgment in the vitals, which are protected
on the side only by the fragile, lightly covered ribs.
Unless a duck-punt is used it is almost hopeless to try for duck
except in the early morning or evening, and the best results may be
had, out here at least, by waiting for the evening flights. To avoid
disappointment the feeding grounds should be carefully located, and
the regular lines of flight noted.
In conclusion the writer would like to suggest that the Tientsin
sportsmen keep records of the different species of duck, and other
interesting birds they secure, and send their results to the editors of
the local papers.
I>r is probable, that, if a hundred sportsmen were asked what bird
they considered the most difficult to hit, ninety-nine of them would
unhesitatingly answer ''the snipe." It may be that the pheasant is
harder to kill, that the chukar (red-legged partridge) will carry more
shot, or that the thick feathers of the duck afford it greater protection ;
but all these birds are comparatively reliable in their habits and fly
straight, though fast, and so can be readily accounted for by a reason-
ably good shot.
The snipe, however, is as uncertain a bird as it is possible to im-
agine. It rises in unexpected places, sometimes almost out of range,
sometimes under one's very nose, and as often as not after one has
passed the spot, where it lay crouched ready to spring like a rocket
into the air. One may never be sure in which direction the snipe
will go, and besides being an unusually fast flyer, it often cuts a rapid
zigzag course, thus adding enormously to the difficulty of bringing
it down. Again, not only does each bird differ from the last in its
mode of procedure, but they all vary very considerably with the wea-
ther and the time of day. Thus on a windy day some birds will stick
close; while, amongst those that fly>, the tendency is to rise into the
wind : and in the evening snipe will rise within easy range, when earlier
in the day it was impossible to get a decent shot.
To take advantage of the snipe's rising into the wind the sportsman
walks down wind, only to find that the birds hear his approach sooner
and so get up at a greater range.
Then again the ground favoured by\ snipe varies, and the sports-
man never can be sure just where they will be on the particular day
he chooses for his outing. Where he found them thick one day there
will be none the next, and, after having carefully waded through
likely looking marsh for a couple of hours, he reaches some dry ground
and slings his gun over his shoulder to light his pipe, up gets a "whisp"
and with derisive chirps go skimming away out of sight.
Snipe, too, are not always easy to see, as they rise amongst the
reeds, and were it not for the unmistakable warning call they usually
give, far fewer birds would be brought to bag.
Thus the man who wishes to make good bags of snipe, besides
being a good shot, must be as resourceful as his quarry is erratic.
He must be prepared to change his tactics with the hour and the wind,
and must have at his back considerable experience and knowledge of
the game he is after.
For the beginner a cool head and straight eye will do much, but he
will be beaten time after time by the unexpected and unfamiliar shots
presented to him, and he will find that it is only by dint of the careful
study of his quarry, much practice, and the exercise of considerable
resourcefulness that he will ultimately excel in snipe shooting.
Perhaps the following reliable tips may be of use to him:
1. A snipe going away is invariably on the rise, therefore aim
high ; when fairly on the move its speed is considerable, therefore aim
well in front.
2. Never walk into the sun, for as well as being more or less
blinded, one is rendered more conspicuous to the birds. By walking
away from the sun the birds become more conspicuous as they rise,
and the sportsmen considerably less so.
3. As a general rule walk down wind, but be ready to change
if it is found that the birds are getting up too far ahead.
4. Always take your time when aiming : snap shooting is liable
to prove disastrous to the beginner.
5. Unless one has a good retriever, No. 8 or even heavier shot
should be used ; for though one is more likely to hit with No. 9 shot,
the birds are not so likely to be killed on the spot, and often drop at
considerable distances and are hard to find.
In North China, which is one of the best countries in the world for
snipe, we have four common species which go by that name, viz. the
lesser pintail snipe (Gaillinago stenura), Swinhoe's pintail snipe
(G. megala), the common snipe (G. media) and the painted snipe
Of these the last is not a true snipe, but is more nearly related to
the rails, and belongs to a genus of its own (Ryncltea). It is about
the size of the snipe, and is very much the same shape. It is very
differently coloured, however, being more handsomely marked, from
which fact it derives its name. What makes this bird somewhat
unique is the fact that the female is more richly coloured than the
male, a characteristic, the reverse of which is the rule with most
other species of birds where there is a difference in the plumage of
the sexes. The painted snipe is rather uncommon, while its flight is
slow, so that it cannot rank with the true snipe as a sporting bird.
Of the three true snipe, the common snipe (Gallinago media) is by
far the most numerous round Tientsin. It has a wide range, being
found right across Asia and Europe, and is also the species so sought
after by sportsmen in the British Isles. It is the smallest of the three
species mentioned, is the richest in colouring, and has longer and more
pronounced longitudinal buff markings upon the back. The under surface
of the wing is of a very light grey, the feathers being lightly barred
with dark grey. The most characteristic feature, and the one by which
it can be distinguished unmistakably from the other two species is the
tail. This is comparatively large, and contains fourteen feathers of
almost equal size and uniform shape. These tail feathers are used in
Europe to make trout flies.
The pintail snipe are so called because of the peculiar attenuation
of the outer tail feathers into almost pin-like shafts.
Of the two species, Swinhoe's pintail (Gallinago megala) is the
larger. In other respects it is more or Jess an intermediate form be-
tween the common and lesser pintail snipe. Thus it is lighter in
general colour than the common snipe, but slightly darker than the lesser
pintail. Its tail is composed of twenty feathers, the outer six on! either
side being very much smaller than the others, though not so pin-
like as those of the lesser pintail. The upper surface of the wing is more
spotted than in either o the other two species, and its head is also dar-
ker in colour. The under surface of the wing is much more strongly
marked than in the common snipe, the breast is more spotted, and
the belly less white than in the other species. So far I have only been
able to record two of this species this season, out of a total of about
seventy birds examined (Sept. 15th, 1913).
The remaining species, the lesser pintail snipe (Gallinago stenura)
is slightly smaller than ; Swinhoe's snipe, but considerably larger than
the common snipe. It is the lightest coloured of the three, and has
the smallest tail. The latter makes up for its size in the number of
feathers it contains, there being no less than twenty six, of which the
outer eight on either side are very narrow and pinlike. The dark bands
on the head are spotted with light brown, while the light markings
on the back assume the form of transverse bars rather than longitudinal
streaks as in the other two species. Only two of this species have
fallen to my gun this season, though I found them very plentiful last
May in Manchuria. They breed witEin the Arctic Circle, so that those
I saw in May had a long way to go before the end of June,
Neither of the pin-tail snipe are so active or fly so fast as the com-
mon snipe, but they are usually much finer and fatter birds.
Two other snipe occur, though rarely in North China. These
are the jack snipe (Gallinago gallinula) and the solitary snipe (GalUnago
solitaria). Of these the latter may be met, with in the mountainous
areas, in some places throughout the year. It is much the largest of
all the snipe, being sometimes mistaken for the woodcock. It most
nearly resembles Swinboe's snipe, but is darker and browner above,
besides being larger.
With regard to the best snipe grounds, Tientsin sportsmen doubt-
less know far more than the writer does about local conditions, but
they may be interested in hearing of other good grounds further in-
land. There are some good snipe districts accessible from the Pekin-
Kalgan line, notably round Hsuan-hau Fu. In the extensive valleys
formed by the large affluents of the Yellow Eiver, and other
rivers flowing eastward in Shans'i, there are many excellent
marshes or rice-growing areas, where good bags of snipe may be made ;
while along the road from Tungkuan to Si-an Fu in Shensi stretch
mile upon mile of the best snipe country imaginable. Frequently
when travelling in Kansu, one may come across small marshes, where
snipe are plentiful in the right season.
Still I think, on the whole, that the residents of Tientsin have
within easy reach of them as good snipe grounds as anywhere. Large
bags have been made in the past, and doubtless will continue to be
made, for snipe are not appreciably effected by the heavy inroads which
are made into their numbers by sportsmen and hunters. So vast are
their numbers, that but a mere skimming is taken as they pass to and
from their breeding grounds.
It would be interesting to know a few of the record bags made
round Tientsin. No very large bags are made in the British Isles,
but bags of over one hundred couple have been made in India and Cey-
lon. It is said that 223 birds is the record bag for India. I believe this
has frequently been beaten in China, but it is not likely that any
bags made out here can compare with those made in Louisiana, where
1,943 birds were shot by Mr. J. J. Pringle in seven days, his record
for one day being 366.
There is a story told of a famous New York snipe shooter, who took
on a wager that he would shoot a hundred snipe with a hundred cart-
ridges. He started out and shot very carefully. With each shot he
brought down his bird till the figure of ninety eight was reached, when,
through a defective cartridge, he lost one bird. He was not beaten,
however, but reserved his last cartridge till he got two snipe crossing
each other, when he fired, and bagged them both, thus winning his
So many people in Tientsin go snipe shooting that one hesitates
to give any personal anecdotes, but an article on snipe seems incom-
plete without a yarn or two. Will the old stagers excuse a description
of a day with the snipe, for the sake of those who are so unfortunate as
to be unable to indulge in what is one of the finest forms of sport
Early one fine September morning a little party of us, three in num-
ber set off in rickshaws for the bridge which spans the canal behind the
Japanese barracks. There was my old friend Sin, a new acquaintance
and myself all eager for a good day's shooting. The crisp air blew
gently from the north, and it was just chilly enough to make us
thoroughly appreciate the first warm rays of the sun that pierced the
low mists enshrouding the town behind us.
Bowling along at a good rate we soon reached the bridge, where
we engaged a sampan, and settling ourselves comfortably, allowed the
boatman to pull us up the canal towards the race-course at his own
rate. Three small boys had collared our belongings and sat proudly
in the stern, smoking cigarettes and chattering about the different
kinds of snipe, the best grounds to get them in, and the peculiarities
of the many Lao Yehs that came to shoot them; while we, comfort-
ably pulling at' our pipes, listened contentedly or called up remini-
scences of former sih'ooting trips.
Presently we reached a spot, near which I had already been hav-
ing good sport with snipe, so we pulled- up to the bank and set off
towards some paddy fields. We began well. Two snipe getting up
were bagged by Sin and myself. These, however, were the last
we put up in this area, where but three days before I had bagged a
dozen in less than an hour, not including five which I shot, but could
not find in the tall reeds.
At the suggestion of one of the small boys we returned to our
sampan, and continued up the canal. Presently turning more to the
west we passed the old railway embankment and continued for
another mile or so, finally pulling in to the bank once more near a
village called Shi-liu-chien-fang-tzu (Sixteen Rooms). Half a mile over
dried grass -covered ground brought us to some swamps and the fun
Sin neatly dropped a bird with his automatic. Next a fat snipe
got up in front of me. My second barrel knocked out a feather or
two, but the bird flew some distance and alighted. That was the
beginning of my troubles. Continuing, I put up the snipe again, but
this time it flew slowly and I got rattled (as the Americans say) and
foolishly determined to get the bird at all costs, with the result that I
ran right into a whisp of six snipe, and made a double miss. Jusit as
I slipped two more cartridges home up got my wounded bird, and to my
chagrin, I missed again. That was the last I saw of it, but a minute
or so later I bagged my second bird.
Meanwhile my companions had been popping away merrily, and
had four birds between them to show for it. Then for about an hour
the snipe seemed to have disappeared, but at last in the course of
a long trarnp through the mud, I ran across some paddy fields out of
which the snipe popped one after another. I dropped two, and then
began missing again. The birds seemed to be more exasperatingly
active than usual. They either rose just out of range or right under my
feet. .Some rose straight up into the air, and others skimmed low
over the standing rice stalks, or zigzagged away to the right or left.
Finding that I could do nothing with them I decided to head for the
boat, and get a rest and some lunch.
My companions had evidently come to the same decision for they
joined me not far from the bank of the canal. A comparison of bags
showed that Sin led with five snipe and four pratincoles (peculiar
swallow-like birds related to the plovers, and very good eating). My
bag contained four snipe and our friend's two snipe and a whimbrel.
It was a pretty poor show considering the number of birds about.
Crossing the canal and tying up under the shelter of some reeds,
we did ample justice to the delicacies spread before us.
After lunch we lay around and smoked for a couple of hours.
Sin, who can never resist the chance of a swim, went into the canal,
much to the delight of the small boys. The day was perfect. Even
as we thus enjoyed our noontide rest, we were surrounded by a
hundred forms of aquatic and aerial life. Over head the pratincoles
coursed like enormous swallows, rising, sinking and circling in their
abundant vitality. Ever and anon a flight, of grey plovers would pass,
flapping lazily, with long plaintive calls. More rarely a whisp of snipe
would come drumming down out of the invisible, and go skimming low
over the reeds and rushes, alighting abruptly where it pleased them.
A hoarse croak would announce the passage of a clumsy heron seeking
some new feeding ground, or the sharp call of the coot and the peep of
the baby grebes from the reeds, would tell us that there, too, was busy
active life. In the canal widening circles on the water's surface would
tell where some fish had risen, and watching, we might see carp and
THE COOT (Fulica atra).
THE COMMON SNIPE (Gallinago media).
dace leap high into the air, their silvery quivering bodies scattering
showers of crystal drops, ere the waters swallowed them again. All
nature was alive and moving to the accompaniment of the hum from
a myriad insect wings.
As we lay and watched there came an ancient villager prodding
his way along the bank of the canal, up to his waist in water. With
a quick movement he drew from the water the writhing eel-like form
of a gigantic catfish, securely hooked on the end of a long bar. Placing
it in his basket, he turned his face towards the sound of our applauding
voices and lo ! he was blind. We might have guessed it. None
but the blind could have had sufficient delicacy of touch to
find so unerringly the slight dent in the muddy bank, whicn
alone marked the spot where the fish had buried itself. Next in-
stant a shining dace glistened for a moment between his fingers ere it
disappeared into the basket, to be followed shortly by a large crab.
Apparently satisfied with his day's catch, the old man crossed the
canal and was led away to the village by a tiny grandchild.
At length rested and refreshed we returned to the snipe grounds,
and for the next two hours had all the shooting we wanted. My shoot-
ing had improved considerably, and I got several couple of snipe al-
most at once, but after a while the continual tramping in the soft mud
began to tell. In the last half hour I absolutely disgraced myself,
and finally when a wounded bird escaped me after six cartridges had
been expended on it, I gave up. My bag was now thirteen snipe and
four whimbrels. Some of my shots had pleased me very much, not-
ably one in which I brought down two snipe at once like the New
My two companions also improved their shooting after lunch.
Sin added several more snipe to his bag and a couple of whimbrels.
Our friend was unlucky enough to run out of cartridges, when a con-
siderable distance away from either of us, and so was forced to watch
snipe after snipe get up and go without being able to attempt to stop
Finally we all met again at the sampan, had some tea, and then
started home. In spite of our bad shooting we had had a thoroughly
enjoyable day. The weather had been perfect, there had been no
lack of birds, and, after all, when the forty odd head were put together
they made a handsome enough looking bag. The journey home in
the cool of an ideal September evening, as we glided along the
numerous waterways, past tall and stately reeds, with the soft glow
of the sinking sun lighting up their feathery tops, was by no means
the least enjoyable part of a typical day's outing after snipe.
THE PERCHING BIRDS.
IT is not an easy matter to define, for the general reader, what is*
known amongst ornithologists as a perching bird, for to do so would
mean entering into a general discussion upon the whole class Aves.
The order Passeres includes all the songsters and most of the brilliantly
hued birds so dear to the 'heart of the bird fancier. They commence
with the crows, and, in this country at least, end with the martins and
swallows. In fact this order is by far the greatest, containing, as it
does, well over thirty families represented by innumerable sub-families,
genera and species. Thrushes, finches, larks, starlings, Birds of Para-
dise, wagtails, butcher birds, tits, wrens and even such peculiar birds as
the South American bell-bird and the cock-of-the-rock belong to this
In China the order is well represented, nearly half the known
species of birds belonging to it.
There are some fourteen members of the crow family (Corvidae).
The largest of these is the raven (Corvus corax), which is only common
in the more desolate regions along the Mongolian Frontier. Here it
lives largely upon the dead bodies of the Mongols, thrown out from the
camps. On this account the Chinese name for it in these parts is
"Mung-ku kuan tsai," (The Mongol's coffin). Next in size is the
carrion crow (C. corone orientalis). This bird is very handsome, being
of a shiny black, with neat plumage, and having a comparatively small
bill. The Chinese jungle crow (0. 'levailanti), with its enormous thick
bill might easily be mistaken for the raven, were it not for its small
size, which is about that of the rook. It is common in Shansi, being
particularly abundant in some places. A crow that is less common in
the mountains, but which occurs fa:'rly plentifully on the plains is the
white-necked crow (C. torquatus). As the name suggests this bird differs
from all the foregoing in having a broad white collar. It also has a
heavy bill, but ia not so large as the raven.
THE PERCHING BIRDS. 131
The rook (Frugilegus pastinator) is extremely common. Leaving
the rookeries in the interior during the winter, it journeys to the coastal
regions, where in company with the jackdaw (Coloeus dauuricus) it
congregates in great flocks, as Tientsin residents have good reason to
know. The rook may easily be distinguished from the crows, by its
naked face and narrow bill.
The little jackdaw occurs everywhere in vast numbers. It is a
pretty and familiar bird with its white neck and belly. Another species
which is not so common in these parts is the black jackdaw
(C. neglectus). This bird is of the same size as the other, but is with-
out any white.
In the interior, especially in some places, the chough (Graculus
graculus), is very abundant. It is a graceful bird, about the size of a
rook, with shiny black plumage, a long, curved, orange bill and orange
legs. It lives mostly in mountainous and hilly regions, building its
nest in holes in cliffs. In winter, as is the case with many members
of the crow family, large flocks of these birds may be seen. They then
associate, very frequently with the jackdaw.
Everybody is familiar with the common magpie (Pica caudata).
It is found everywhere, throughout North, and Central China.
The azure-winged magpie (Cyanopolius cyanus) and the blue magpie
(Urocissa sinensis) are two of the most beautiful birds found in North
China. The former is the smaller and is characterized by a black head,
pearl-grey breast, pale blue-grey back and delicate azure-blue wings and
tail. It occurs all over North China. The blue magpie is somewhat
similarly coloured, but has more blue about it. The black head is
spotted with light blue, the spots merging into each other on the nape of
the neck. The throat and breast, also, are black. The back is of a
pale mauve-blue, the wings azure tipped with white-, the tail mauve-
blue tipped with white and very long. The legs are of a bright
orange-red. This bird occurs in Chihli, Honan, South Shansi,
Central and South Shensi and South Kansu. It keeps to more
or less wooded areas, though it may be seen in gardens even in the
vicinity of large towns.
The jay is represented in North China by two species, Garrulus
sinensis in the more southerly portion, and G. brandti in the north.
The latter also occurs in Manchuria. In general the plumage of these
two birds resembles that of their European cousin, but the blue on the
wing 1 is more extensive, and there is also a white patch) on each wing.
In the case of G. sinensis the head and crest are plain, in the case of
132 THE PEBCHING BIKDS.
G. brandti slightly striated. In both species the rufous colour is more
pronounced than in the European bird.
The nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) is one of the most con-
spicuous denizens of the forested regions of Shansi and Kansu. I have
not seen it in any of the other provinces. About the size and shape
of the jackdaw, it is of a brown colour, with white spots on the head
and neck, black wings and black and white tail. Where it occurs at all
it is very plentiful, being a lively active bird. It is a great nuisance to
the hunter for it always discovers him, and gives warning to all the
game in the vicinity by cackling vigorously. Like all the other mem-
bers of the crow family it makes a most interesting pet, owing to its
superior intelligence and undoubted reasoning powers.
Next to the crows come several birds, each the single represent-
ative of a different family. Of these the grey starling (Spodiopsar
cineraceus) is undoubtedly the commonest. This bird should be well
known to sportsmen in Tientsin, for it appears in large flocks during the
snipe season, and by making a noise similar to that of a snipe, which it
also somewhat resembles in flight and its way of getting up, often
deceives the beginner. It is about the same size as the British star-
ling, but has a grey plumage with conspicuous patches of white on the
cheeks. The bill and legs are orange-yellow. It is a great nuisance to
The Daurian starlet (Sturnina daurica) is a much smaller bird,
wh.'ch also passes through in large flocks to breed in Mongolia and
Another bird common in these parts, and also wherever there
are trees and marshes together, is the drongo (Buchango air a). This
is a bird with jet black plumage, a long tail, gracefully forked
at the end, and of the size of a thrush. It is known in India as the
kingcrow. Its food consists of butterflies and other insects, which it
dexterously catches in mid air. It keeps to the willows and other trees
that so frequently line marshes, canals and rivers in this country.
The next species is the golden oriole (Qriolus indicus), a bird with
the most striking plumage, and possessed of a wonderful voice.
The colour of the adult is a rich golden yellow intensified by jet black
on the wings and tail. A black band also occurs on the head, passing
from the base of the beak, through the eye, to form a patch on the
back of the head and nape. The legs are plumbeous, the beak pink,
and the eye bright red. Immature birds are of a green colour above,
striped on the under parts,
THE PEECHING BIBDS. 133
The oriole is very shy, so that it is seldom seen. It hides in the
dense foliage of the largest trees, whence it pours out its liquid, dulcet
notes in a short, but indescribably sweet song. Unfortunately it
does not thrive in captivity, for it would make a most handsome addition
to the aviary.
Our next family is the Fringillidae , the finches, whdch is a large one,
including a great many sub-families.
Not counting the sparrow, fohe commonest of these is the redpole
two species of which occur. These are Linota linaria and L. canescens. (
They make good pets.
Often found associating with the little flocks of redpoles are the
rose-finches, two species of which are common in North China. These
are Carpodacus roseus and C. erythrinus. These beautiful birds, have
the- plumage on the body of a brown colour, washed with rose, which
gets more and more intense with age. The feathers of the head are
like the petals 1 of some small pink flower, hence the Chinese name
"Mei-hua-tou" (Kose flower head). C. pulcherrimus is another! species
of rose-finch, which is very rare.
Three species of hawfinch are common in the northern provinces,
two others occuring further south. The common hawfinch (Coccoth-
raustes japonicus) closely resembles the British species.
The other two, which belong to a different genus, are larger than
the common species, with longer tails and even heavier bills. These
are the large-billed hawfinch (Eophona magnirostra) and the black-
headed hawfinch (E. migratoria). The Chinese value all these birds
as trick-birds, and may frequently be seen in the streets with their
pets tied to perches. Indeed the large-billed hawfinch shows a remark-
able degree of intelligence.
The greenfinch is represented in China by the Chinese
greenfinch, or golden wing (Chloris sinica), which as its
name suggests is remarkable chiefly for the large amount of bright
golden yellow on the wings. It is a little greyish -green bird, the
maturer specimens being washed with golden-brown on the breast and
lower back. This bird has a pretty little song, and makes a good pet.
Another nearly related species is the siskin (Chrysomitris spinus), a
little green bird, which is less common in North China than the fore-
going species. It may be distinguished by it's narrow bill and greener
A common bird in the more mountainous regions is the brambling
(Fringilla montifringilla) . This is a bright, perky little fellow, not
unlike the chaffinch. It has a red-brown breast, with head and back
134 THE PEBCHING BIEDS.
of a deep Prussian blue, almost black. The tail is long, forked and of
the same blue black colour.
The crossbill found in North China is Loxia albiventris. It is a
peculiar looking bird with its remarkable beak, the hooked ends of which
cross each other and give it its name. It has short legs and tail.
The plumage is of a greeny-brown; the males are suffused
with crimson and the females with yellow. These birds live
upon pine seeds, and may be seen hanging on to the cones, the scales
of which they pick to pieces with their powerful beaks. They make
interesting pets as they show a remarkable degree of intelligence.
There are a large number of buntings found in North China, amongst
which are the white-headed bunting (Emberiza leucocephala), the rustic
bunting (E. rustica), the chestnut bunting (E. cioides), which inhabits
the hills, the yellow-breasted bunting (E. aureola) a beautiful little bird
with dark brown upper parts and a bright yellow breast, which is
extremely plentiful in Mongolia and West Manchuria during the
summer. Other species are the two reed buntings (E. passerina and
E. yessoensis), the painted bunting (E. jucata), the little bunting
(E. pusilla), the yellow-throated bunting (E. elegans) the yellow-browed
bunting (E. chrysophrys), Tristram's bunting (E. tristrami), the grey-
headed bunting (E. spodocephala), and the ruddy bunting (E. rutila),
11 of which may be recognized by their small beaks, forked tails and
somewhat lark-like appearance. Another member of the same family,
but of a different genus is the Lapland bunting (Colcarius lapponicus),
which is only a winter visitor. It is distinguishable by the prepon-
derance of white in its plumage, and is also somewhat larger than the
foregoing 1 species.
We next come to the larks, of which the Mongolian lark
(Melancorpha mongolica), is undoubtedly the ablest, if not the
sweetest, songster found in this country. It inhabits the northern
portion of the provinces along the Mongolian border, and is very num-
erous in Mongolia itself. It is a large heavily built bird, with
a black collar and conspicuous white patches on the wings.
It is greatly prized by the Chinese. Almost every shop-
keeper in a Chinese town owns one or more of these birds, which may
be seen hanging outside the shop-front in characteristic dome-shaped
cages. The vocal powers of this bird are remarkable, for beside being
able to imitate any other songbird, it can mimic perfectly a cat or a
kite, and to a certain extent a dog's bark.
The skylark is represented in North China by at least two sub-
species, namely, Alauda arvcnsis pekinensis and A. a. cinerea. It has
THE PERCHING BIRDS. 135
never been my fortune to come across one of these fine vocal per-
formers in the act of skying, as does the British bird, but/ I am told by
one of my friends that they do sky. There is nothing, in the whole of
the bird world that is more pleasing than a skylark pouring out its
jubilant song as it mounts up and up into the blue vault of heaven.
Certainly no phase of bird-life has inspired more poetry.
The crested lark (Galerita leautungcnsis) is another very good
songster. It occurs everywhere. As the name suggests it possesses
a long crest, that makes it quite a pretty bird, inspite of its dull drab
Two short-toed larks (Alaudula cheleensis and Calendrella brachij-
dactyla) are common in Chihli, the former breeding in many places on
the coast. Two shore -larks (Alauda alpestris and A. sibirica) also oc-
cur in North Chihli, but are not common.
Next to the larks come the wagtails, several species of which
may be seen, especially during the migrations. The most beautiful
of thtese is the yellow-headed wagtail (Motacilla citreola). It is of a
grey colour with black and white wings and tail, and a brilliant yellow
head and breast. It frequents marshes and river banks on its way
to and from its breeding grounds in Siberia. ,
Another handsome species is the pied-wagtail (M. leucopsis).
This bird has a white face, black breast, black and white wings and
tail. It nests in mountain valleys, where it may be seen through-
out the summer flitting about the rocks and pebbles in the stream
A third species is the eastern race of the white wagtail (M. bai-
kalensis), which is not unlike the pied wagtail, but has the top of the
head black, the back and sides grey, with only a very little white on
Other species are the streak-eyed wagtail (M. occularis), the yel-
low wagtails (M. flava and M. borealis) and the grey wagtail (M.
Nearly related to the wagtails are the pipits, the following species
occuring in North China : Richard's pipit (Anthus richardi), Gustav's
pipit (A. gustavi), Blakiston's pipit (A. blakistoni). the tree pipit (A.
cervinus) and the Japanese pipit (A japonicus). These birds, Hke tlu-
wagtails frequent watery places, living upon flies and spiders. They
are all of sombre hues, greys and browns predominating in their plum-
The wall-creeper (Trichodroma muraria), our next species, be-
longs to a group, which is represented by but a comparatively few
136 THE PERCHING BIHDS.
forms. It is a graceful little bird peculiarly adapted to hunting for ita
food on the face of cliffs. Thus it has long curved claws, by means
of which it can hold on to the merest little roughness on a rock surface.
It also has a long curved beak, with which to pry into the cracks and
crannies for spiders and other insects, upon which it feeds. It is of a
pretty grey colour, with a crimson patch on each wing, and large
white spots upon the primaries. The wings are very large and broad,
giving the bird, when in flight, the motions of a butterfly. It has a
short sweet song, the notes of which start low down in the scale, run
rapidly up and end abruptly. It is very common in the mountains of
Shansi and Shensi, but is extremely difficult to secure
Between this bird and our next group, the tits, comes the nuthatch
(Sitta sinensis). This little known bird keeps almost entirely to the
wooded areas, where it searches for its food in the cracks and crannies
of the pine trees. Like the wall creeper it can scramble up and down
flat, slightly rough surfaces. It is very fond of hanging upside down
from the pine-cones, amongst the scales of which it searches for seeds.
It is a small grey bird, with pale chestnut breast. The tail is short ;
the beak rather stout, being used to split hazel nuts. In doing this
the bird first jams the nut into a crevice in the bark of a tree, and
then hammers it till it splits. It is this habit whicb gives the bird
The tits are represented by several species, of which the prettiest
is the long-tailed titmouse (Acredula caudata). Birds of this species
go about in small flocks of a dozen or so, and are very pretty to watch,
as they flit from branch! to branch, examining every leaf and twig in
their interminable search for insects.
The lesser tit (Parus minor) is not unlike the British tomtit, but is
smaller in size. Two cole tits occur, one (P. pekinensis) in the vicinity
of Peking and westward, the other (P. insularis) in North-eastern
Chihli. The yellow breasted tit (P. venustulus) and the crested tit
(Lophopanes bcavani) also are fairly common. They are all charming
little birds excessively active and cheery in disposition. They seem
to love to hang upside down from the branches, but this habit is only to
enable them to examine the under surfaces of leaves more freely. They
are easy to keep in captivity if given plenty of room and the proper
kind of food. It is one of the prettiest sights imaginable to see a tit
with a sunflower seed held firmly between its feet, hammering
away with its strong little beak to split it. One I owned used to dive
into corners after cobwebs, returning to his perch with a long mass
THE PEBCHING BIRDS. 137
in his claws, when he would busily search amongst the meshes for
In China the penduline tit is represented by a species known as
Remiza consobrina. This pretty little bird derives its name from its
habit of hanging upside down. In the male the head is grey, the
back and wings buff and chestnut, the breast cream, while there is a
black band across the eyes.
We next come to the butcher birds or shrikes, which are represent-
ed in North China by six species. These birds derive their name from
their habit of spitting their prey upon the long thorns on the bushes
in the vicinity of their nest, and leaving them there till required, thus
maintaining a larder. They have been known to steal the fledgelings
from other birds' nest and treat them in this cruel way. Small rodents,
also, sometimes fall a prey to these fierce little birds, but in the main
their food consists of grasshoppers, beetles and other insects. The
great grey shrike (Lanius sphenocercus) is undoubtedly the hand-
somest of the three species. The head and back of this bird are of a
fine grey; the breast white. There is a black band over each eye.
THE BUTCHER BIRD (Laniiis superciliosus).
The wings and tail are black, the feathers of tihte latter being tipped
with white. It is very common on the plains and in wide valleys of
North China, but is seldom seen in mountainous or hilly districts,
188 THE PEKCHING BIKBS.
The other five species are all very much smaller birds, and are
very hard to distinguish from each other, even when in the fully adult
plumage. When in the barred plumage of the immature birds, the
work of identifying specimens becomes practically impossible.
The different species may be distinguished thus. Four of the five
species are characterized by having red-brown tails. One of these
(L. tigrinus) has a blue-grey head and neck, which at once distinguishes
it from all the others. The upper parts are red-brown barred with black.
The other three red-tailed shrikes are L. leucionensis with white
forehead, grey head, greyish-brown upper parts, L. superciliosus with
ohfestnut head, wings and back, white forehead and white eyebrows,
and L. cristatus with the upper parts brown and no eyebrow.
The remaining species is L. bucephalus, which has a gr-ey tail,
chestnut head, and upper back, white eyebrow, a conspicuous white
spot on the wing and the lower back grey. In all the species the breast
and lower parts are buff. I fcave seen some of these birds nesting in
The waxwing (Ampelis ganula) comes next to the shrikes. This
is an elegant bird with unsually long; wings and a fine crest. It' is of a
pretty fawn-grey colour, with a tendency to chestnut on the crest and
mauve on the back. The eyes are surrounded with black ; there is a
black patch on the throat, and the tips of the dark wing and tail feathers
are of a brilliant yellow. The most peculiar characteristic, and the one
from which the bird derives its name, is that the secondary wing fea-
thers are all tipped with little red waxy appendages, that look almost
artificial. In some specimens the tail feathers also have these appen-
dages. Waxwings may be seen in large flocks, especially in winter.
They feed upon berries, having a great predilection for those of the
mistletoe. They are noisy birds, whistling and piping continuously
as they search for their food.
The Japanese waxwing (A. japonica) also occurs, but it is a very
much, rarer bird. In this species the tips of the wing and tail feathers
are crimson and not yellow. It is also somewhfat smaller than the
In North China there are several members of the thrusE* family,
the two commonest of which are Merula naumanni and M. ruficollis.
The former is of a greyish brown colour above and dirty white below.
The throat and breast are chestnut spotted with black, the tail chest-
nut. The latter is slightly the larger, and has more chestnut on the
breast, without the spots.
THE PEECHING BIEDS. 139
Both of these birds occur in large flocks throughout the winter,
going northward in the spring. Other species, which have been noticed
in North China are the pale ouzel (M. pallida), the dusky ouzel (M.
fuscata), the grey back ouzel (M. hortulorum), and the grey-headed
ouzel (M . obscura). White's thrush (Oreocincla varia) and the Siberian
ground-thrush (Geo&incla sibirica) also occur, but none of these are
In the loess gullies and foothills of Shansi and elsewhere the
blue rock-thrush (Monticola solitarius) occurs. This bird has a blue head,
neck and back, dark grey wings and tail, with bright chestnut breast,
A small rock-thmsh, (M. gularis) is also to be found in Chihli,
though I have never come across it in Shansi and westward. It has a
brilliant blue head and nape, chestnut breast, belly, rump and low< j ,r
back and black upper back and wings. Neither of these birds are
In the more arid parts of the northern provinces, and especially in
the Ordos Desert, the wheatear (Saxicola isabellina) occurs in great
numbers. It is a pretty bird with white breast and lower back, black
wings and tail, 'having a black band like the shrikes through the eye.
It nests in holes in the ground, often using still tenanted burrows of
the ground squirrel.
Another species (S. mono), has the top of the head and neck of a
dirty white, the lower parts white, tinged with reddish on the breast
and fuliginous brown on the flanks, the upper and lower tail coverts
white and the wings, lower tail, and upper back black. S. oenanthe, a
third species also occurs, but the last two are not at all common.
The peculiar birds known as fork-tails come next in our list. Thft
common North China species is Henicurus sinensis. Further south
several other species occur. These birds keep to watery places, and
may be found plentifully in the ravine bottoms in the Central Shensi
loess country. Our species is a large bird with a long, widely-forked
black tail. The rest of the body is pied. Thte -legs are long, and of a
Next to this genus comes the redstarts, two species of which are
found. These are the common redstart (RuticiUa aurorca) and the
black redstart (R. rufi.ventris.) The former has a pretty grey head and
black body and wings, the latter having a conspicuous white patch on
each, wlhiile the lower breast, rump and tail are of a bright chestnut -
red colour. As it is continually bobbing its tail and flirting its wings,
the name redstart is very suitable.
140 THE PEKCHING BIKDS.
The black redstart is entirely black except for the belly, rump and
tail which are of a bright chestnut-red colour. This species occurs only
in the more secluded valleys and ravines of the treeless hills and moun-
tain ranges, while the other seems to prefer old temple buildings, where
it; builds its nest in holes in the walls. In both species the females are
grey-brown, with chestnut tails.
The plumbeous water-redstart (Phyacornis fuliginosa) is also found,
but is not at all common. Erythacus dkahige, the Japanese robin oc-
curs along the coast of North China, but a bird that is often called
the robin is the ruby-throated warbler (Erythacus calliope). This pretty
bird is a great favourite with bird fanciers in this country, and with its
dark olive-brown head, back, wings and tail, its bright crimson throat,
its white belly and white markings above and below the
eye it is certainly a very handsome cage bird. Its near
relation the blue-throated warbler (E, caeruleculus) is another
favourite. This bird is olive-brown above with a fine blue throat and
breast, the blue patch being edged with a band of black and
another of chestnut, while a chestnut patch occupies the centre.
The upper part of the tail is also chestnut. Both these warblers
are very sweet singers, and are favourite cage birds of the Chinese,
being called respectively "Hung tien er" (Ked spot) and "Lan tien
er" (Blue spot).
There are five species of reed-warblers common to North China,
of which the short-billed reed warbler (Arundinax aedon) is perhaps
the most plentiful. This bird keeps to the osier beds and willow
withies. Last summer I saw great numbers along the river sides in
Manchuria, where they sang incessantly and with great vigour. They
are very shy of being seen, however, and on the approach of anybody
would immediately disappear into the rank foliage.
The eastern great reed-warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) breeds in
China and Manchuria, in great numbers. The three other
species (A. bestrijiceps, A. tangorum and A. 'sorghophilus) are all
small inconspicuous Thirds. Besides these, willow-warblers, grass-hopper-
warblers and other small birds belonging to the Sylviidae pass through
the country on migration in immense numbers.
The next two species are what are known as accentors. One of
these, Accentor erythropygius, inhabits the rocky cairns and summits
of the highest back ranges. It is a little smaller than the thrush, and
is very prettily marked, though of sombre hue. The other, Tharrhaleus
montane Una, keeps to the valley bottoms, also in the higher ranges.
This is the Chinese representative of the British hedge-sparrow.
THE PERCHING BIRDS. 141
The dipper is represented in North China by Cinclus pallasi, an
uniformly dark olive-brown bird, which is found in Shensi. It may
be seen along the streams in the rocky bottoms of the deep loess
ravines, where it builds its nest under the overhanging ledges. It
can dive well, from which fact it gets its name of dipper. I have never
come across it elsewhere than in Shensi.
The wren (Anothura fumigata) is another bird found in the deep
ravines. Its range is, however, much wider than that of the dipper,
extending all over the mountainous districts of North and Central
Included in the list o soft billed birds are the timelines, an in-
teresting group of birds characterized by their short rounded wings and
their large broad tails. They are related to the mocking bird, and are
also known as babblers.
The commonest of these is known as Pterorhirvus davidi. This is
a lively bird of an uniform dark olive-brown, with a slight suggestion
of a blue metallic sheen on the long wing feathers. It is one of the
commonest birds of the mountainous regions,; and is gifted with no
mean vocal powers. It may be seen in flocks of six or seven playing
about in the underbrush, or scratching in the dried leaves' and grass for
food. It is essentially a brush bird, keeping entirely to the undergrowth
and low shrubs, and never perching on the tall trees. It builds its nest
in the dense thorn scrub in ravine bottoms.
A much smaller bird of the same type, and with similar habits is
the Rhopophilus pekinensis. This bird frequents the same localities as
the foregoing species. It is more prettily marked, however, having a
white breast with chestnut streaks. It has a proportionately longer tail.
Pomatorhinus gravivox is another timeline, which is not only a
very handsome bird, but has an unusually sweet song. It is olive-brown
on the back, with chestnut forehead, cheeks and belly. The throat and
breast are white spotted with black. I have only come across it in
Shensi, where it is rather rare.
In Shensi, also occur two other /timelines. One of these, Trocha-
lopteron ellioti, is about the same size as Pterorhmus davidi, and is of
a similar general colour. The wings, however, are washed withi more
intense metallic blue, and the tail with a brassy yellow sheen. The
other, Dryonastcs pcrspicillatus, is the largest of the five, with' dull
plumage. These last two species do not appear to occur north of
the Wei valley, and may be said to belong more to the avi-fauna of
142 THE PERCHING BIRDS.
The smallest member of this group is a little green bird, with white
breast and reddish flanks, commonly called the white-eye (Zosterops
erythropleura). It gets its name from the eye? being encircled with
white. It is very common and may frequently be seen in the garden
during the summer.
Next to these birds come the fly catchers, represented by several
species in North China. Being denizens of the more densely wooded
and brush covered areas, they are not often seen.
Most remarkable of these is the paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone
incii). In this beautiful bird the adult male has the central tail feathers
enormously lengthened during! the breeding season. The younger
males and the females are of a chestnut, red colour all over, except
the head and neck, which are of a fine metallic blue, almost black.
The most peculiar thing is that the old males are of the same chestnut-
red colour except during; the breeding season, when they are white.
Thus during the breeding season thiere are three plumages, namely,
the chestnut and blue-black females, with short tails, the chestnut
and blue-back young males with very long tails, and the pure white
aoad blue-black old males with very long tails. This is not a common
bird, but it has been recorded from the vicinity of Peking and also at
Another most beautiful bird is the tricolor flycatcher (Xanthopygia
tricolor). This bird has a black head, upper back, wings and tail, white
eyebrows, secondaries and upper wing coverts white, and bright yel-
low under parts, lower back and rump. The female is plain olive green
above, dirty white below with yellowish rump.
The blue and white flycatcher (Cyanoptila bella) is also a strik-
ingly beautiful bird, with its bright, smalt-blue upper parts, black throat
and breast and white belly. The female is brown. The robin fly-
catcher (Poliomyias luteola) has black or iron-grey upper parts, orange-
red throat with a white patch on the wing, another behind the eye and
the base of the tail white. The female is olive brown above, white below.
The broad billed flycatcher (Alsonax latiro stria) is a small grey-
brown bird, with white under parts, marked with grey on the breast ;
while the Siberian flycatcher (Hemichelidon sibirica) is much darker
with heavily marked breast. Lastly the white-tailed robin-flycatcher
(Siphia albicilla) is characterized by a red throat in the male, the
rest of the bird being grey.
This list of flycatchers shows that some of the most beautiful
of our birds belong to the family.
THE PEKCHING BIRDS. 148
Finally we come to the swallows and martins represented by some
six species, three of each. The common swallow of these parts is the
eastern house swallow (Hirundo gutturalis), which is allowed to build
in the ceilings and eaves of native houses. Both the Chinese and
Mongols consider it extremely lucky to have swallows build in their dwel-
lings, and in many places every house and tent has its pair of swallows,
which 1 build in the rafters year by year. The other two swallows ire
the. Nipal striped swallow (H. nipalensis), which has a striped breast,
and lytler's swallow. (H. tytleri), which keeps more to the wild parts.
The house martin (Chilidon lagopoda), as its name suggests, builds
its nest in human domiciles, while the cliff martin (Ptyonopracne rupes-
tris) keeps to the rocky ravines of the mountainous districts, where
it makes its nest under thfe overhanging rocks and in caves. It is
about the same size as the swallow, but has a much shorter tail, and
is of a dark brown above and white below.
The sand martin (Cotile riparia) nests in long tunnels, which it
excavates in sandy banks and cliffs. It is considerably smaller than
the crag martin, though of about the same shape and colour. When
travelling in Inner Mongolia, I frequently came across regular warrens-,
excavated by these little birds in low banks, or even in thie sides
of disused wells. In places immense flocks of these birds were also
seen, evidently gathered together preparatory to the migration south-
THE WADING BIRDS OF NORTH CHINA.
FEW even amongst those who make the gun and rod their hobby,
and spend many a pleasant week-end along the river's bank or in a
house boat on the fens, realize what a great variety of wading birds
there is. This is doubtless due to the fact that the man with the gun,
if he be a true sportsman, seldom fires at anything he does not know
to be good for the pot, so that he comes to know a few species well and
is often ignorant of all the rest. On the other hand the man with the
rod is usually too absorbed in his float or flytackle to heed the numerous
other attractions of his holiday resort. The man who derives the
greatest pleasure and profit from nature's marvellous store is he, who.
setting out with sight and hearing alert, is prepared to sacrifice a good
bag in order to follow up and learn what he can about some unfamiliar
bird that has crossed his path. And what a world of wonder w.ll open
out before; h^n ! He will be at a loss to name the numerous species
he encounters. He will see strange sights which he will be unable to
account for. Turning up his books he will be confused by close
scientific descriptions and terms, or if they be popular ones, they
will be sure to omit just the bird he is looking for. To such
an one the following notes may be useful. I cannot pretend that my
list will be either complete or infallible, but it may serve in assisting the
local sportsman, who is interested in something other than merely how
many couple he can bag, to identify and correctly name the many
interesting birds he sees.
The largest wading bird common to North China is the black stork
(Cieonia nigra). This handsome species frequents the clear streams
and rivers in the vicinity of high and precipitous cliffs, in the crags
of which it builds its nest and rears its young. It may only be seen in
such coastal regions as Tientsin during the spring and autumn migra-
tions. It is considerably larger than the Keron, and has the head, neck,
back, wings and tail of a jet black, the feathers of the head and neck
being shot with iridescent hues. The breast and belly are white. The
beak, face, eyes and legs are ol a fine vermilion colour. The plumage
THE IKIS-EILLKD CURLEW (Ibidorhynchus struthersi).
THE CURLEW (Numcnius arquat-uz).
THE WADING BIBDS OF NOBTH CHINA. 145
of the female is more brown, and is without the iridescence. The food
of this bird is small fish.
Next in size comes the heron (Ardea cinerea) familiar to everybody
who goes in for wild fowling. It is a beautiful bird with its delicate grey
feathers, white throat and neck, speckled with black and its graceful
black crest. In flight it may be distinguished from the foregoing species
by the way in which it holds its head back over its shoulders. The stork
keeps its neck stretched out at full length in front, as also do the cranes.
Several other species of heron occur in North China. The rarest of
these is the egret (Ardea garzetta), a perfectly white bird, carrying on
its back those rare plumes commonly known as "ospreys." In size
this species is very much less than the common heron, but the two are
very similar in shape. As stated in a previous paper, this elegant little
wader is fast becoming extinct, owing to the high price set upon its
plumes. The worst thing about the collecting of these plumes is that
they are most valuable when the young are being fledged, and parent
birds are nearly always shot just at this time, so that the young are
left to starve. I have seen but two of these birds in a wild* state from
the time, many years ago, when I first began to distinguish one species
A very beautiful bird is the purple heron (Ardea manillensis), whicn
may sometimes be seen in this region. The plumage of this bird is a
wonderful combination of greys, purples, buffs and browns. It is
somewhat smaller than the common heron. Common in the marshes
of North China is a very small bird belonging to this family named
lArdetta sinensis. It is like a small bittern in appearance, being
of a buff colour streaked with black. One often puts it up when
out snipe shooting. It occurs all over North China. Another rarer
species, (4. eurythma) also occurs. This bird has the crown, nape and
back of a dark brown, the throat, cheeks, chest, belly and legs of a
buff, with grey-buff wing coverts. I found this bird rather common in
Manchuria. The well known bittern (Botaurus stellaris) is the next
member of the great order Herodiones, to which the foregoing species
belong. This is essentially a bird of the marshes, where owing to its
colouring and markings, it may stand amongst the reed stems and
completely escape detection.
Another member of this order is the night heron (Nycticorax
griseus). This bird is about the same size as the bittern, and is remark-
able for its conspicuous plumage. The top of the head is black with
two long white plumes passing backward over the neck and shoulders.
The face, side of the head, neck, breast and belly are white, the back
is black and the wings a dark blue-grey. The beak is green and black,
146 THE WADING BIRDS OF NORTH CHINA.
the legs yellow and the eye red. This bird prefers wooded districts,
building its nest in low trees. It does its fishing by night, sleeping
during the day, hence the name night heron.
Another group belonging to this order are the ibises, which are
represented in North China by a very beautiful bird, the Japanese ibis
(Nipponia nippon). This bird has fine white plumage, tinged with a
brilliant orange-pink, especially on the under surface of the wings.
With its long curved beak, pronounced crest and naked forehead, face
and throat, it is a very peculiar looking bird. It makes a great noise,
uttering a harsh croak, even louder than that of the raven. It builds its
nest in trees, and feeds chiefly upon large water snails. It is very
common along the Wei Valley in Shensi, and I have seen it as far north
as Tai-yuan Fu in Shansi, while I am told, that it breeds on the banks
of the Liao River in Manchuria.
The last member of this order is the spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia),
so called on account of its peculiarly shaped bill, which flattens out at
the end like a spoon. In colour this bird is pure white and like many
others of the order has a pronounced crest. In size it about equals the
common heron. I have seen large flocks of these birds during the
migrating season, and noticed that they assume the V shape formation,
so characteristic of aquatic birds in general. They are very shy and
keep to the most uninhabited regions, such as the very heart of wild
and impassable marshes.
The next order of wading birds is Fulicariae which includes the
rails, moorhens and coots. Of these the moorhens and coots cannot,
strictly speaking, be called waders, for they are expert swimmers and
spend most of their time on the surface of deep water. Even the
water rail swims every whit as much as it wades, so that we might
pass over the whole group, which in any case is well enough known.
There are two species of crane common in North China, namely,
the common crane (Grus lilfordi) and the demoiselle crane (Anthropoides
virgo), both of which birds occur in huge flocks. The common crane
is much the larger, being of a dark grey colour with' handsome tail
and wing plumes. It has a naked red crown and a white band ex-
tending down either side of the neck from the eye. The demoiselle
crane is also of a pretty grey colour on the body with much darker
head, neck and breast. It has two white tufts growing backwards from
behind the eye. The tail feathers are long and painted. Both of these
species may be seen in great numbers upon the Mongolian Plateau.
We next have to consider the great order Limicolee, which includes
the plovers, the sand pipers, the snipe, the curlews and all the rest of
the smaller wading birds.
THE WADING BIEDS OF NOKTH CHINA. 147
There are ten plovers common to North China, namely, the grey-
headed plover (Microsarcops cinereus), the crested plover or lapwing
(Vanellus vanellus), the golden plover (Charadrius fulvus), the little
ringed plover (Aegialitis minor) the larger ringed plover (Aeg. placidus)
the sand plover (Aeg. cantianus), the larger sand plover (Aeg. geoffroyi),
the Mongolian plover (Aeg. mongolicus), the dotterel (Charadrius
veredus) and the pratincole (Glareola orientalis). These are all well
known to the sportsman, for he will continually meet them. The
grey-headed plover is the largest. It is of a grey colour above, white
below, with black and white wings and tail, and a conspicuous black
band across the breast. The beak is yellow at the base, black at the
tip, and there are yellow fleshy appendages on either side of the face.
In flight it resembles the lapwing, to which bird it also bears consider-
able resemblance in its habits.
The lapwing is a particularly well known bird. Its black plumage
has a fine metallic sheen changing from a rich green to coppery red in
the sunlight. The lower breast and belly are white, the under tail-
coverts of a rich chestnut-fawn colour. Its name is derived from its
habits of pretending to be wounded, and flapping along with an
apparently broken wing in order to draw the intruder away from its nest.
The golden plover is a graceful bird, about the size of a snipe,
wit b fine golden-green plumage thickly speckled with black. I have
yet to see the sportsman who will let a golden plover pass if he could
bag it, for its flesh is excellent, ranking, some people think, even
higher than that of the snipe itself.
The members of the genus Aegialitis may be distinguished from
one another thus :
Lesser sand plover : Chestnut on back of head ; incomplete neck
Greater sand plover: Chestnut head, neck, and breast. No neck
Lesser ringed plover: complete neck ring, grey-black and white
back and wings ; no chestnut colour ; with a white ring round
Greater ringed plover: the same as the lesser ringed plover, but
larger in size.
Mongolian plover: like the greater sand plover, but with black
gorget or neck ring, and of a smaller size.
The dotterel (Charadrius veredus} is also classed with the plovers
and is certainly very like them. It may be recognised by its whitish buff
head, chestnut breast and upper flanks, bordered below by black,
grey-brown back and long legs. It is, however, very rarely seen. It
THE WADING BIRDS OF NORTH CHINA.
is believed that the dotterels fly from their winter resort in the south
to their breeding grounds in Arctic regions in one continuous flight,
without either rest or food.
Closely allied to the plovers are the pratincoles, remarkable for
their swift swallow-like flight. One species (Glareola orientalis) is
very common in North China, especially round Tientsin, where it may
be seen in swarms flying over the reeds, chasing and catching the
grasshoppers and other insects. In appearance this bird is not unlike
the dotterel, though it has a short thick beak, wide mouth, very long
wings and a swallow tail. In colour it is of 1 a dark grey-brown on the
head, nape, back, wings and breast, shading off into white on the belly
and rump. The throat is fawn, bounded by a black line as in the
chukar, or red-legged partridge. The lower back and under wing
surface are chestnut. These graceful birds offer very sporting shots, but
the flesh, though without that coarse flavour, so often noticeable in
water birds, is slightly bitter.
THE AVOCET (Recurvirostra avocetia).
Next to the plovers come the avocets, represented in North China
by the common avocet (Recurvirostra avoceita). This is a most grace-
ful bird with pied plumage, long slender black legs, webbed feet and
a long thin beak with a strong upward curve. In size it, about equals
the lapwing, though it is of a very much more slender build.
THE WADING BIKDS OF NORTH CHINA. 149
A very handsome wading bird that is to be found in North China,
though it keeps to the coastal regions, is the Japanese oyster catcher,
(Hoematopus osculans). This bird is somewhat larger than a pigeon,
and is conspicuously, coloured, having the head, neck and back of a
jet black, wings and tail black and white, and breast and belly pure
white. The legs are of a dull red, the long beak orange. It derives
its name from the fact that it feeds upon bi- valve molluscs, which it
prises open with its bill.
In the rock-strewn valleys of the mountainous regions of the
interior, another closely allied form exists^ namely, the ibis-billed
oyster catcher (Ibidorhynchus siruthcrsi). This interesting bird forms
a connecting link between the oyster-catchers and our next genus, the
curlews. In colour, it is of a delicate mauve-grey above, with
white breast and belly. It has a black face, with a long crimson bill,
shaped like that of the ibis; hence its name.
The legs are of a pretty mauve colour, and there is a broad black
band across the chest. These birds, in their native haunts, so exactly
resemble the grey stones and boulders, that it is almost impossible to
detect them. When they fly, they utter a plaintive call like that of
the lapwing. They are never seen in marshy country, and are only
Every one is familiar with the curlew (Numenius arguatus) and
the whimbrel (N. variegatus). These birds are very much alike in
plumage and appearance, the whimbrel being but a small curlew.
They are very good eating and offer good sporting shots, so that few
sportsmen refuse to take them when the chance offers.
The grey phalarope (Phalaropus fulcarius) is another bird that may
be seen in the marshes, though only during the migrations. It may
be recognized by its> lobed feet, not unlike those of the coot. It is
about the size of the golden plover, and is remarkable for the seasonal
change in its plumage. In winter it is grey above, white beneath ; in
summer, dark grey-brown above and chestnut beneath. When in
summer plumage it may easily be confused with the dotterel, which it
very much resembles in shape and in flight. It has a short beak like
I have never come across the ruff (Totanus pugnax), though we
certainly have the two red-shanks (T. calidris and T. fuscus) and the
common, sand-piper (T. hypoleucos), all members of thie same genus,
besides a great many others. The red-shank is somewhat larger than
the snipe, and may easily be recognized by its long, conspicuously orange
legs, its fine white breast, and speckled brown upper parts.
150 THE WADING BIBBS OF NORTH CHINA.
The common sand-piper is the little bird known out here as the
snippet. The latter is a purely sporting term used loosely for many
small snipe-like birds. Another bird that often receives this name is
the red-necked stint (Tringa ruficollis), a small snipe-like bird that
often deceives the beginner as to its identity. This is the little fellow
that goes about in small flocks of ten or a dozen, and settles on the flat
muddy stretches where there is no cover.
Another member of the same genus is the dunlin (T. americana),
which, however, has a longer beak, is darker in colour, and slightly
larger. It keeps more to the sea-shore, and is seldom met. with
The black-tailed godwit (Limosa melanura) is another of the wadera,
which passes through during the migratory season. This is a bird
about the size of the whimbrel, but having a long straight beak. It
is of fawin-grey and brown colour with black flight feathers, white
axillaries and a black tail, the base of which is white. The legs are
long and the central toe has the nail curved upward and serrated. The
feathers of the head and neck are tinged with chestnut. A second smaller
species occurs, which is barred on the breast and back, and has very
much more chestnut on the head and neck.
The descriptions of all these birds refer only to the adult male.
As it frequently happens that the females and young have differently
coloured plumage, the sportsman will often secure birds that do not
answer to any of these. He must then arrive at an identification by
a process of elimination, though without reference to colour. He will
have to go more by shape, length of leg and beak, and so on.
Lastly we have the woodcock and snipe. 1 have already dealt
with the latter in a separate paper.
My experiences with the woodcock, (Scolapax rusticffla) has not
been great, in fact I have run across it in only two places, namely, in
the wooded area west of Tai-yuan Fu in Shansi, and in the mountains
west of Kwei-hua-chi'eng further north in the same province. In both
of these districts it is fairly plentiful in spring and autumn, but rather
shy and difficult to shoot.
It is occasionally shot round Tientsin by local sportsmen, and I
have seen it for sale in the French market.
MISCELLANEOUS BIRDS PICARIAN BIRDS.
THE birds of this great order differ from the perching birds mainly
in the structure of their feet. The majority of the species have the
toes arranged two pointing forward and two directed backward. In
those that have three in front and one behind the feet are usually small
and weak, and the metatarsal bones short. The order includes the
wood-peckers, cuckoos, humming birds, swifts, kingfishers, rollers and
others,, and is well represented in the Chinese avi-fauna. They form
a most interesting group so that it would be well to consider them in
Much the largest of all the woodpeckers in this country is the
great black woodpecker (Picus martins). This is a very rare species,
occuring only in the wilds of the wooded mountain areas. It is about
18 inches in length, with jet black plumage, except for a very con-
spicuous crimson crown. It is remarkable how many of the Picidae
have these brilliant crimson patches on their heads, which,
however, is usually absent in the females. The beak of
the great black woodpecker is very powerful, and is flattened
vertically at the tip to form a most effective implement in the
drilling of holes in tree trunks. Mostly this drilling and chipping is
carried out in the surface of soft and decaying wood in the search for
insects, upon which the bird feeds ; but when the nesting season comes
on, the parent birds excavate deep holes, sometimes many feet in
length. I have known of such holes being made in the green wood of
living trees. The energy of woodpeckers is exuberant, and there are
few birds more interesting to watch.
Next in size comes the grey-headed woodpecker (Gecinus canus).
This is a very common bird 1 , occuring in every locality. It seems to be
non-migratory for it may be seen at all times of the year. Considering
152 MISCELLANEOUS BIRDS.
the fact that woodpeckers are insectivorous birds, it might be wondered
where they get their food from during our cold North China winters.
That they do get insect food is known from the fact that stomachs of
these birds, examined in winter have been found full of ants.
I once made a rough 1 estimate of the number of ants a
woodpecker disposes of in a year, and got a result of nearly three
hundred thousand (300,000). This does not include the numerous other
insects that go to make up its bill-of-fare. Another thing that doubtless
helps these birds through the winter is that at a pinch they can subsist
on the kernels of wild apricots and peaches.
The process usually used in catching insects is to drum upon
some infested trunk with the beak. In the case of ants, this is effective
in causing the irate and warlike little insects to swarm out of their holes
to attack the invader, when they are promptly licked up by the long
barbed and sticky tongue. Other insects are literally dragged out of
their borings by the same deadly weapon.
In colour the grey-headed woodpecker is green on the body and
wings, grey on the neck and head, with a fine crimson crown and a
dark band on either cheek, running from the base of the beak to behind
the lower jaw.
Another closely related species is the Yang-tze green woodpecker
(G. guerini), which differs from G. canus in having more black on the
nape and head and in being greener throughout.
The Chinese pied woodpecker (Dendrocopus cabanisi) is another
common woodpecker. It is closely allied to the common spotted
woodpecker (D. major), but has black instead of white scapulars. The
latter bird also occurs. It is black and white on the head, back, wings
and tail. The breast is light bro^n or dirty white. The back of the
head is crimson, the belly and rump bright rose.
The rufus bellied pied-woodpecker (Hypopicus poliopsis) resembles
the foregoing species, but has a red-brown breast.
As far as I know the smallest woodpecker in these parts is the
spark-headed woodpecker. Its scientific name lyngipicus scintilliccps,
seems to suggest some connection with the wryneck (lynx). This pretty
little woodpecker is pied above, brown on the breast with black streaks,
and has two crimson spots on the back of the head. It is somewhat
smaller than a sparrow.
The next Picarian bird is the wryneck (lynx torquilla), sometimes
known as the cuckoo's mate. This little bird appears in spring just
before the cuckoo, to which it is closely related. It is of a brown colour
MISCELLANEOUS BlllDS. 158
covered with mottlings, bars and striations, of a darker shade. Like
the woodpeckers it builds its nest in holes in trees, but it does not
excavate these itself. It has a delicate narrow bill eminently unsuited
to such an undertaking.
Closely following the wryneck comes the cuckoo, not only in ita
north bound migration, but also in the position to which ornithologists
have assigned it in their arrangements and classification of birds. The
cuckoo is too familiar a bird to need any description. There seem to be
two distinct species recognisable by their calls. One is the common
cuckoo (Curulus canorus), which gives the call so familiar to all of us.
The other, the Asiatic cuckoo (C. intermedias) keeps to the wooded
areas and utters a call which can only be rendered by the syllable
whoom whoom whoom oft repeated in a low keyi with an indescribable
resonance. I found both species very common in the Manchurian forests,
but they were unapproachable. Indeed, excepting on one occasion,
I have never succeeded in securing any but immature specimens.
It is well known how small birds will mob a cuckoo when they find
one in the open. It has been found that the male cuckoo deliberately
seeks this mobbing so as 1 to draw the small birds away from their nest,
thus giving the female a chance of deposit'dntg her egg in the nest of a
Skipping a number of Picarian families, which do not seem to be
represented in North China, we come to the swifts and nightjars. A
great many people seem to think these are classed with the swallows
and martins. This popular error is not to be wondered at, for a swift
certainly bears a remarkable resemblance to a martin. One look at
the feet, however, and all doubt is dispelled. Small, sharply clawed,
feathered to the toes and of awkward shape the foot of a swift, and to
an even greater extent, that of the nightjar, is certainly not that of a
perching bird. As a matter of fact the swift family is called Micro-
podidae, which means "small feet." The three members of this family
in North China are the white-rumped swift (Cypselus pacificus), the
North China swift (C. pekinensis) and the spinetailed swift (Acanthyllis
caudata). The North China swift is a well known bird, being a regular
summer visitor. It rears its young in 'holes in the eaves of temples,
gate towers and other grand old-buildings. In the evenings, when it is
most busy, its shrill whistling fills the air, and is a most pleasant sound.
Like the swallows the young can fly as soon as they are fledged, though
occasionally a young bird, which has left the nest too soon, may be
picked up from the ground. Swifts find great difficulty in risixig from
the ground, doubtless due to the feebleness of their legs and feet,
which prevents them from giving the initial spring into the air.
The white rumped swift according to David breeds in the hills
west of Peking.
The spine-tailed swift is a very large handsome bird, of a dark
brown colour with a whitish back.
The nightjar (Caprimulgus jotaca) is an interesting bird, found only
in the moutainous areas. I have come across it in Shansi and Man-
churia only, though doubtless it occurs in the other provinces. It
makes a peculiar noise like the knocking together of two pieces of
wood. Perhaps this is what gives it the name of nightjar. Another
name is nighthawk and a third very common one is goatsucker. The
last has come from the fact that the bird has frequently been seen to
hang around the udders of goats so that it has become a
popular belief that it sucks the milk. As a matter of fact it is flies that
the bird is after. Of a beautiful brown grey colour, closely pencilled
and barred, the nightjar is a handsome bird. Like the swift it has an
enormous mouth and long graceful wings. It lays two eggs on the
bare ground in the underbrush, where it rears its young. In tropical
countries there are some very beautiful members of this family.
THE HOOPOE (Upupa epops).
A bird that never fails to call forth admiration is the hoopoe (Upupa
epops). In Shansi and westward this is not a rare bird, though I
MISCELLANEOUS BIRDS, 155
believe it is less common in these parts. It derives its name from its
peculiar call, which may be rendered hoo poo poo. The Chinese name
"pu pu tze" is also descriptive of the call. The colour and markings
of the hoopoe are very handsome, but its glory lies in the wonderful
crown of golden feathers that adorns its head. It nests in holes in
cliffs, feeding upon grubs and insects, which it catches with its long
bill. With this it prods the soft mould as do the snipes and woodcocks.
Not distantly related to the hoopoe are the kingfishers, a small
variety of which, Aloedo bengalensis, is familiar at least to all sporting
men out here. This is closely allied to the species found all over Europe
and temperate and even tropical Asia. It is a beautiful little bird with
its bright blue head, back, wings and tail, and its chestnut breast. It
may often be seen skimming along the banks of streams and canals
with its bright colours flashing like living gems in the sunlight. The
Chinese use the feathers of this bird in the manufacture of trinkets and
hair ornaments, the brilliant blue being an excellent substitute for
enamel. I am told that the natives who hunt for these feathers, catch-
the birds alive and after they have taken such of the plumes as they
require, restore them their freedom.
The only other kingfisher that I know of inhabiting North China
is a very handsome species known as Halcyon pileatus. This bird has
a black head, dark purple and blue back and wings, a black tail, white
throat, chestnut breast and belly and bright red legs and bill. It
frequents rivers and marshes, and may even be seen along mountain
streams. It is about the size of a thrush.
One should not leave the Picarian birds without mentioning one
other species,, the Chinese broad-hilled roller (Eurystonws colony se).
Whether this bird inhabits North China or not, 1 have not yet ascer-
tained, but I found it very common, though hard to secure, in Man-
churia. It is certainly one of the handsomest, if not the handsomest
bird of these latitudes. Its plumage is a wonderful combination of
blues, ranging from an emerald-blue on the back to the most ultra of
ultramarine on the tail and what milliners call electric blue on the
wings. The head is black and the throat pale mauve-blue. In sharp
contrast to these gem-like colours are the bright orange red beak, crim-
son legs and almost ruby coloured eye. The beak is large, powerful and
hooked at the tip. The wings are long ; the tail square. The bird keeps to
the tops of the highest trees, feeding upon the large insects, which it
dexterously catches in mid air. It makes a great noise resembling that
of the jay and other members of the crow family.
156 MISCELLANEOUS BIRDS.
Passing over the parrots, the birds of prey, the herons and the
ducks, we come to the dove family, which includes the pigeons, doves
and, according to Ogilvie Grant, the sandgrouse. The last forms a
connecting link, through the pigeons, between the waterfowl (ducks, etc.)
on the cne hand and the game birds (true grouse, pheasants, etc.) on
Columbae is not a very large order, though its members,
judging from the vast numbers in which they occur, seem
to be eminently successful in the struggle for existence. One
of the commonest members of the family is the rockdove
(Columba rupestris). Birds of this species make their homes, as the
names suggest, in rocky ravines and loess gullies, wherever they may
find a shelf broad enough to deposit their eggs. In winter they fore-
gather in great flocks, sometimes numbering many thousands, and scour
the country side for food. At such times they offer excellent sport,
and one may either take them singly as they pass and repass overhead,
or else pot them as they feed. Of course this latter method does not
appeal to the finer sporting instincts, and is only excusable on the plea
that the birds are needed for food, and that cartridges are too hard to
secure in the interior to waste upon difficult and doubtful shots. The rock
dove is to all intents and purposes just a common blue pigeon. It differs
from its European cousin in having a broad white band across the tail.
The turtle dove (Turtur orientalis) is another member of the same
family, which is rather plentiful in the northern provinces. It keeps
to the well wooded areas, where it nests in low trees, building little
more than a loose platform of twigs and pine needles. Two eggs are
usually deposited at a time, which is the case with all the pigeon family.
During the mating season the males may frequently be seen to fly
upwards from the woods attaining an altitude of a hundred feet or
more above the tree tops, then spreading their wings they sail gracefully
down again, and are lost to view in the dense foliage. There are few
sounds more romantic than the mating coo coo of the turtle dove, and
none more reminiscent of the pine woods.
Another dove (T. risorius) occurs more on the plains, where it
frequents groves and orchards. This species is lighter than the turtle
dove, and has none of the markings on the back. It has a plain blacJt
band or collar on the neck, which in the turtle dove is speckled with
lavender. Both these birds, but more especially the latter offer good
sport, when nothing else is to be had.
MISCELLANEOUS BIEDS, 157
From a sporting point of view the first of these miscellaneous
species should have been the pin-tailed sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes para-
doxus). Properly speaking this is not a Chinese bird, but is only en
occasional visitor. Its true home is Mongolia, Siberia and the Steppes
of Central Asia, whence it invades South-eastern Europe, North China
and other neighbouring countries. About the size of a pigeon, which it
somewhat resembles in build and shape, it is a handsome bird of a
sandy colour with pretty markings. The female is barred; the male
spotted, the latter also having a reddish orange face; while in both
sexes there is a broad black band across the chest. The feet are very
short, thick and padded on the soles. They are also thickly feathered
so that they resemble in appearance those of a rabbit. The wings are
long, the first flight feathers tapering away to a fine point. This is also
the case with the tail feathers, from which fact the bird derives the first
part of its name, the second part, as might be supposed, referring to
its partiality for sandy places.
THE PINTAILED SANDGROUSE (Syrrhaptes paradoxus).
Sandgrouse are sporting birds, well beloved of local shooting
men. They go about in large flocks, fly very fast and require a deal of
killing, They are given to flighting and in seasons when they are plenti-
ful excellent sport may be enjoyed with them. Sometimes they keep
very high and out of range, but this is only when they are on long
distance flights. Usually they keep low and offer splendid marks.
They only come south) in winter when severe weather (not cold) is
prevalent, antj heavy falls of snow cover their feeding grounds in Mon-
golia. I have seen them in large numbers on the Mongolian Plateau
just north of Kalgan as late as the end of April, and singly or in pairs
a little further north in the middle of summer. The furthest south I
have seen them is on the Tai-yuan Fu plain (Lat. 37 degrees N.),
though whether they ever get further south I could not say.
The few times I have had a chance of shooting these birds, have
been during journeys in North Shansi and Mongolia, when an occasional
flock has passed by on whistling wings. I am told that a good way to
hunt them is for three or four sportsmen to station themselves at wide
intervals round the spot where a flock has been found feeding. The
birds keep on circling round the spot, and so continually offer a mark
to one or other of the guns. One party travelling in North Shansi in
December 1912, reported great numbers of these birds, stating that they
sometimes shot as many as thirty and forty brace a day. The last really
extensive incursions of these birds into North China occurred in the
winter of 1907-08. On that occasion local sportsmen were able to get
good shooting simply by walking the birds up. The flesh is darker than
that of the game birds.
Under this heading we have a number of species belonging to several
small orders, and the ornithologist must excuse my classing them
THE CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo).
The cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) occurs wild in North China.
This bird is well known on account of its being used by the Chinese in
MISCELLANEOUS BIEDS, 159
the capture of fish. It belongs to the same family as the pelican,
which latter bird does not, as far as I know, corne as far north as these
districts. The cormorant is an eminently ungainly bird out of the
water. It is an excellent diver, however, and when under water displays
a wonderful grace. I once saw one being fed in a large glass tank in the
London Zoo, and the way it darted about after the fish was a sight I
shall never forget. In less time than it takes to write every one of the
hundred or so little fish placed in the tank had disappeared down its
hungry gullet. I have since seen them at work catching, fish in the
Chihli lakes. Though of a black colour the feathers have a fine metal-
lic sheen, which in conjunction with the brig>ht emerald green eye,
light silvery crest and graceful beak, does much to redeem the awkwa v d
appearance of the bkd.
The cormorant builds its nest on low trees in marshy and watery
districts, laying from three to six eggs. The young feed from their
parents' crops by thrusting their heads down the gullets of the latter.
The other aquatic birds, which we have not yet considered are
the rails, coots, gulls and grebes. The rails are represented by a species
known as Hallus indicus. This is an inconspicuous brown bird, about
the size of a spring chicken. It skulks in the reeds and grasses of the
marshy districts. lij is seldom seen as it hardly ever leaves cover. It
has longi legs and toes, a short beak, and short tail. I ihave not come
across the corncrake or landrail in North China, though in North Shansi
I found a very much smaller variety of the water-rail type, which I have
been unable to identify.
The moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) and also the coot (Fulica atra)
are both well known to the sportsman. The first is a small dark gr^y
bird with long green legs and slightly lobed toes, and a red beak. There
is a peculiar naked disk of flesh upon the forehead, being a continua-
tion from the base of the beak. The coot is about twice the size of
the moorhen, 'has plumage of the same colour, but the toes are very
much more lobed. The beak and face-disk or shield are of fine ivory
white. Both birds are very common in marshy districts, and breed
in this, country.
In the vicinity of Tientsin several species of gull are to be seen,
which have found their ways up from the sea coast to feed in the marshes
and lakes of the flat lands. Most conspicuous amongst these are the
terns, one of which Sterna fluviatilis follows up the large rivers and
may be found right in the interior. It, has a black head, grey back and
white under parts, with a swallow tail.
160 MISCELLANEOUS BIBBS,
Besides this species, the black tern (S. l&ucoptera) has also been
recorded, and I have often seen the lesser tern (S. sinensis). Then
there are the common laughing gull (Lams ridibundus) the pink-legged
herring gull (L. cachinans) and the thick-billed gull (L. crassirostris)
specimens of 1 which I have recently secured in the vicinity of Tientsin.
The albatross (Diomedea albatrus) has also been secured in Chinese
Seas, and I have seen what I suspect of being the smaller sooty alba-
tross (D. nigripes).
Lastly we come to the grebes, of which the most uncommon is the
great-crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus). The shape and build of this
bird have become very much modified, so that it is pre-eminently
adapted to swimming both on and under the surface of the ponds and
lakes where it makes its home. The most striking feature is the head,
which, with the hornlike tufts and broad fringe or beard, gives the bird
a most grotesque appearance. On this account the Chinese call it
" Lung tou " (Dragon head). Its wings are so small that'
it is only by beating tihem very rapidly that it can fly.
This difficulty in flying causes it to leave the water with
great reluctance. When frightened it dives and swims under water
for considerable distances. The feet are unique, having the appearance
of a three-lobed leaf. The toes are so arranged as to fold up like the
ribs of a fan as the foot is drawn up after each stroke, thus offering
the minimum resistance to the water.
Another species of grebe is to be found, namely the dabchick or
little grebe (P. philippensis). This pretty little bird is to be found every-
where, and when other birds have passed on northward it may still be
seen disporting on the lake surfaces or busily searching for food amongst
the reeds. Grebes, like the coots and moorhens, build their nests upon
the surface of the waters, anchoring them to some staple object such as
reeds or the half submerged limbs of trees. The mother, on going to
feed, always covers up the eggs, when the nest is indistinguishable
from any other mass of floating debris. A comparatively large brood of
chicks is usually reared.
A' third species also occurs. It is about the same size as the last,
but the male is of a jet black colour, with white breast and a chestnut-
tuft on either side of the head. Its scientific name is
THE REPTILES OF NORTH CHINA, MANCHURIA AND MONGOLIA.
As a rule reptiles in North China and the neighbouring countries
are conspicuous by their absence. One may travel for days on end and
see nothing more than an occasional lizard, even in country where
insect and bird life is abundant, and where the collector may find
his traps full every morning of interesting mammals.
What, one asks, is the cause of this? Why have lizards and
snakes failed to establish themselves in these countries in numbers,
as they have done elsewhere? How is it that the desert areas of
Mongolia, and the forested districts of Shansi, and the Western pro-
vinces, do not show such a variety of reptiles as do other deserts and
forests of the world?
The answer to these questions may be found in a study of the
climatic conditions. It is not altogether the lack of moisture, though
this affects other branches of the cold blooded vertebrates, but it is
more the severity of the winters that has so handicapped the reptilian
fauna in its struggle for existence in these countries.
Though it is a well established fact, that snakes and lizards can
go long periods without food, there is yet a limit to their endurance
in this line; nor do they seem so well adapted to undergo periods of
suspended animation as are the Batrachians, (frogs, toads, newts,
etc.). They might manage (in Manchuria they undoubtedly do) to
survive a much longer period of suspended animation, were there more
moisture, but the dryness of the North China and Mongolian winter
is proverbial, and only a very few species have been able to survive
the triple process of freezing, starvation and dessication.
Very little work has been done on the reptiles of North China
and the neighbouring countries, chiefly because this field of research
offers such small results. It is probable, therefore, that there are
still some undiscovered species, and it might yet pay some one to go
into the subject.
In the course of my various journeys I have come across only
twelve distinct species belonging to the class Rcptilia.
162 THE REPTILES OF NORTH CHINA, &c.
Of these, seven are snakes, three are lizards and the remaining
two are turtles.
There is no questioning the fact that snakes are more instinctively
dreaded and detested by human beings than any other class of ani-
mals. One's fear of them is inherent, being one of the few original
instincts which civilization and progress have failed to suppress. It
is also remarkable, how strongly this instinct is developed in other
orders of the mammalian kingdom. I once placed the dead body of
a snake before a bear-cub, which I have in my possession. Being
short sighted, the little fellow came up to smell the thing. At the
first sniff he shot upwards and backwards as though on springs, snort-
ing with fear. He could have had little, or no experience with
snakes, being very young, and only just taken from his mother; yet
there was planted in his breast a perfect horror of these reptiles,
coupled with the instinctive knowledge of just how to avoid that dead-
ly, blow, which should, in the ordinary course of events, have fol-
lowed his blunder in smelling so dangerous a creature.
So with man; his first instinct on seeing a snake is either to
kill it or run. Even when one is thoroughly used to handling snakes,
land has lost all fear of them, they still may cause a sudden panic
when encountered unexpectedly, and one gives the same quick back-
ward jump, as did the little bear. The reason for this, of course, is
the death dealing nature of the serpent's bite, it's deadly accuracy of
aim, and it's marvellous rapidity, all coupled with a treacherous lurk-
ing nature, so difficult for animals and the bare-legged savage to guard
Fortunately North China is almost free from poisonous snakes.
Of the seven species, one only is venomous, and that one is extremely
rare. This species is the Halys viper (Ancistrodon inter me dias), which
may easily be recognised by the thickness of its body and its wicked
looking short head and upturned nose. The genus is represented by
a species in Siberia, another in the Himalayas, a third in Ceylon, and
one in Manchuria. It is also represented by, several species in North
America ; the well-known and deadly copperhead belonging to this
genus. By holding a viper by the neck, so that it cannot turn and
bite, and prising open the jaws, two enormous fangs are displayed,
growing downward and backward from the upper jaw. These are the
deadly weapons which cause it's kind to be so cordially hated by all
living creatures. The Chinese viper is of a dull uniform grey, some-
times with, and sometimes without any markings. A second species
(A. blomhoffi) is found in Manchuria. It is of a pretty chestnut fawn,
marked with buff and blue-grey lines and dots. Some are almost
A PAIR OF GREEN WATER- SNAKES (Tropidonotus tigriryus).
THE CHINESE MUD-TURTLE (Trionyx sinensis).
THE BEPTILES OF NOETH CHINA, &c.
black. Neither of these species reach a great size, usually being
about two feet in length. The Manchurian species is very common.
I came across them frequently last summer, when I had a startling
proof of the soundness of my rule in always treating a snake as a
poisonous variety until I have examined its fangs and found it harm-
less. For the first part of my stay in that country I came across
only harmless black and brown snakes, with the result that I came to
the conclusion titoat there were no poisonous kinds. Under this
impression I frequently went about the woods with low shoes and no
stockings, and sometimes even bare-footed. One day a snake darted
out of the path ahead of me into the thick brush. Though exactly
the colour of several harmless ones I had caught, it struck me as being
unusually thick in the body, so that when I came across another a
few minutes later, I caught it by putting the butt of my gun on its
head and picked it up by the neck. Next moment I realized that I
had a deadly viper in my hands, as I saw the ugly head, gaping jaws
and poison fangs. Fortunately I had a little brass wire in my pocket,
and I slipped a noose over the reptile's head and carried it back to
camp. After that I always wore high boots or putties.
A. HEAD OF POISONOUS SNAKE (Viper).
B. HEAD OF NON-POISONOUS SNAKE (Watersnake).
The commonest snake in North China is the coluber (Coluber
dione), a species which very much resembles the viper in appearance.
It is found in Shansi, Shensi, Kansu, Mongolia, North and
West Chihli and also in Manchuria. It varies considerably in colour,
164 THE REPTILES OF NORTH CHINA, &c.
according to the nature of the country it inhabits. In the Ordos
Desert and the loess country of Shensi, Kansu and Shansi it is of a
light brown covered with markings of a darker colour. In the grass
lands of Inner Mongolia it is of a grey brown. In the forests of
Shansi and Manchuria it is even darker in colour, and the markings
are almost obliterated. An examination of the mouth of this and
other non-poisonous snakes, will show several rows of very small sharp
teeth, pointing backward, and an entire absence of> anything like
It is often stated that snakes cannot disgorge anything that they
have once commenced to swallow, owing to the backward slant of
their teeth. If this statement is true in regard to other species, it is
certainly not the case with these non-poisonous snakes, for there are
many instances of their disgorging their prey.
The coluber reaches a length of from three: to three and a half
feet. It lays a large white egg, with a flexible tough shell or skin.
The young hatch out in about three weeks.
In marshy districts in Chihli there is a very pretty snake marked
with longitudinal lines down the whole length of its body. It is the
snake commonly found round Tientsin. Whether it is what is known
as the four rayed snake, and is referable to the genus Coluber, or whe-
ther it represents the North American garter-snake, in which case it
would go into our next genus, Tropidonotus, I am not in a position
The green or olive water snake (Tropidonotus tigrinus) is very
common in North China, and is perhaps the most beautiful of the
snakes of this country. It is of a bright sap-green colour above, with
large vermilion patches extending in pairs from the head down either
side of the body, growing smaller and finally vanishing as they reach
the tail. It frequents river banks, streams and even marshes. It is
In Manchuria, this genus is represented by a very large snake,
the black water-snake, (Topidonotus vibakari), which is extremely
abundant in the forest country. These snakes vary in colour, some
being perfectly black above, with light yellow markings on the belly,
others being black with brilliant light, yellow bands all over. The
young are often of an olive brown colour, with white patches on the
n-eck behind the head, so that they can hardly be distinguished from
the common British species. They attain a great size, one specimen
measured by me being 5 feet 1 inch, while the natives told me that
they reach 10 feet in length, with the thickness of a man's arm. I
THE REPTILES OF NOETH CHINA, &c. 165
have the part of a dried skin which measures four and a quarter inches
in width. Allowing for shrinkage in drying, this would give a circum-
ference of at least five inches, probably more. A specimen that
measured four feet seven inches, had a circumference of three inches,
so that the length of the snake from which my piece of skin was taken
can be imagined.
The seventh species (Zamenis spinalis) encountered in North
China is a long whip-like snake, also harmless, which is found in Kan-
eu. It is of an olive-brown colour with three white stripes down the
body, and some white markings on the head. This snake also seems
to be fond of watery places, but this is doubtless due to the fact that
there is an abundance of small life in such localities, upon which
they may feed.
The next group of reptiles to be -considered is even more scantily
represented than the snakes. There are only three species of lizard
in North China and South Mongolia. How many there are in Man-
[churia I could not say. I came across but one, which apparently
was the dullard lizard, (Eremias argus) of North China and Mongolia.
This belongs to the family Lacertidae, the true lizards, and is very
much like the little lizard found in Great Britain. It varies
greatly in colour and markings. It may be seen along the sides of a
dusty road on the plains, amongst the rocks and bushes of the moun-
tains, or in the sand dunes of the desert. Including the tfeil, it is
about four inches in length, though longer specimens are often seen.
It is extremely rapid in its movements and makes a pretty addition
to the vivarium. Its food is beetles and other small insects. The
Manchurian specimens seemed to me to possess longer tails, and to
be of a larger size. Another species inhabiting Japan has a bright
The next species is tJie toad-headed lizard, (Phrynocephalus fron-
talis) which inhabits the sandy areas of North Shansi, the Ordos Desert
and westward. This pretty little creature is characterized,- as the name
suggests, by a short toad-like head. It is of a sandy colour, mottled
with darker markings. There is a bright mauve patch on each side
just behind the arm-pit, while the under surface of the tail is ver-
milion. These little creatures are very pugnacious, and, when fighting
each other, lash their tails from side to side, or rapidly curl and uncurl
them over their backs. They live in little shallow burrows, which
they excavate themselves. Where they exist at all, they occur in
The last lizard to be considered is the gecko (Gecko japonica),
which is doubtless familiar to the reader. Geckos inhabit the cracks
1C6 THE REPTILES OF NOKTH CHINA, &c.
and crannies in houses, caves and rocky cliffs. They can crawl about
on flat perpendicular surfaces, each toe being supplied with a sucker,
which will even cling readily to glass. Theyi are very plentiful in the
houses of Tientsin and Peking. They live upon flies, mosquitoes,
centipedes, scorpions and other vermin. Their bodies and heads are
flat; they have very wide mouths and prominent eyes. They are of a
dull grey colour, admirably adapted to concealment on rock or brick
surfaces. They lay; large, perfectly white eggs, which being soft when
first deposited, stick to the rock, subsequently hardening. The Chin-
ese are very much afraid of these harmless little lizards, which they
call Shieh hu, (scorpion tiger). They can be easily tamed, and without
being placed in confinement will goon learn to come out of their
hiding places daily to take milk or water.
THE TERRAPIN (Clemmys japonica).
Of the two turtles, or properly speaking, tortoises (the word turtle
being used by zoologists to designate certain marine forms 1 in which
the front feet are modified into flippers) found in North
China, one, the terrapin (Clemmys japonica) does not seem
to extend northward much beyond the valley of the Wei Ho
in Shensi. At least ifc is only in that valley and in Anhui that
I have found it. The terrapins are water tortoises, usually rather
small, with flatter bodies than is usual with the land tortoises. They
are vegetarian in diet.
The mud-turtle or soft tortoise (Trionyx sinensis) is common in
all the rivers of North China and Manchuria. This is a member of a
group of tortoises, which are characterized by not having a horny shell
as other tortoises and turtles do. They inhabit rivers exclusively and
often attain a large size. They make excellent turtle soup. The
Chinese mud -turtle is of a greeny-yellow above, lighter and more yellow
beneath. It has a long upturned snout, sharp claws on both front
THE REPTILES OF NORTH CHINA, &c. 167
and hind feet, which are also webbed. These turtles bite savagely
and have to be handled with great care. They are carnivorous and
may be caught on a hook and line with flesh bait and worms. I have
frequently seen them sunning themselves on river banks and pro-
jecting rocks. They are very alert and dive into the water at the
least sign of danger. I have often shot at them, but have only twice
succeeded in securing specimens when shot. Even these revived after
a little while, and though full of pellets lived on until they were
placed in alcohol. Perhaps there are no animals so tenacious of life
as turtles and tortoises. A turtle's head will bite hours after it has
been severed from the body.
FROGS, TOADS AND SOME FRESH-WATER FISH.
HITHERTO our studies of the animal life of North China have been
confined almost, entirely to land forms. True we have discussed
the aquatic birds, but after all these are in a sense inhabitants of the
dry land, and spend most of their time on terra firma, only resorting
to the waters in search of food. At other times many of them are
engaged in long migratory flights, and so might almost be looked upon
as aerial. Amongsit mammals the otter is the only species which could
be called aquatic.
What, then, of that wonderful world below the rippling surfaces
amongst the weeds of China's many waters? What about those
seemingly quiet depths, to a great extent beyond our ken, peopled with
myriads of busy active creatures, whose lives are just as surely made
up of joy, pain, love, courtship, war and tragedy as those of the
more advanced forms of life in the upper-world? May we not in a
small part enter into it, learn something of its denizens and so derive
much of pleasure and instruction?
It is to be regretted that, though there is plenty of water in this
country, so much of it is of that yellow turbid nature that gives its
name to the mightiest of our northern rivers. In con-
sequence it loses to a great extent much of the charm and
attractiveness that water usually has for us. One can scarcely imagine
anybody getting enthusiastic about the sub-aquatic fauna that he
might suspect of being- there, yet cannot see, as he stands on the
bank of the Pei Ho and watches that muddy flow. Even in the canals,
where the current is so slow that one would think nothing could be
carried in suspension, the same all-pervading, infinitely minute part-
icles, which trace back their origin to the Gobi Desert, are continually
being stirred up by the passage of boats, till nothing below the wind-
kissed surface is discernable.
FBOGS, TOADS AND SOME FftESH-WATEB FISH. 169
There are, however, a few sheets of clear water, where the weeds
grow rank, and where an infinite variety of crustaceans, molluscs, in-
sects and! the higher forms of life that prey upon them and each other
may be seen and studied with ease. Such stretches occur in some
of the marshes to the east of Pao-ting Fu and in the San-chia-tien
Lake further lown the Ta-ching Ho. Sometimes also the flooded parts
round this settlement are sufficiently clear to render them interesting,
while many of the rivers towards their sources in the mountainous
areas are beautifully transparent.
The subject of this chapter, however, is not so much the lower
forms of aquatic life, interesting though they may be, but rather
a few of the higher forms, belonging to that great group, the cold-
blooded vertebrates, but one branch of which (the reptiles) has as
yet come under our notice.
First, then, let us take the amphibeansi, or batrachians, as present
day Zoologists prefer to call them : those remarkable creatures, whose
lives begin in a sphere of jelly, laid by a solicitous parent in the cool
depths of some pond or permanent stream, go through a period of fish-
like existence, and finally, developing limbs, discard the fish-form
for that of a dry land quadruped. Has the reader ever thought what
a wonderful life history that is? It is more than a life-history, it is the
history of a race. First the protoplasmal sphere, then the tiny noto-
chord and first primitive muscles of the earliest type of fish, followed
by a development of gills, eyes, viscera and other adjuncts of a higher
piscine form. Next the growth of limbs, absorption of the gills and
sealing of the gill slits, and at last the disappearance of the tail, the
expansion of the mouth and the completely changed mode of life.
In the growth of a few short weeks is illustrated the development
and evolution, through countless cycles, of a highly specialized and
distinct organism, to wit the common frog.
Anyone, who has sufficient time to get a good sized bottle, and
secure a pair of spawning frogs may witness the whole of this interesting
process, and an instructive pastime it will prove.
There is not a great variety of frogs in North China, very few dis-
tinct species having been recorded. We have none of the little tree
frogs and other peculiar kinds found in the tropics. The
edible frog (Rana esculenta) is very common especially in the
marshy districts. It is known to the Chinese as T'ien-chi (field
chicken), doubtless on account of its edible qualities. It is sold in
the markets of Tientsin at the rate of two for one cent, and cooked
170 FROGS, TOADS AND SOME FRESH-WATER FISH.
rightly is hard to beat. The flesh of this creature has been des-
cribed as a cross between that of a sole and a spring chicken.
In colour the edible frog varies from a light cream-yellow to a
dark green, the belly and under surface of the legs being lighter than
the upper parts. There are usually two white stripes running from
the back of the eye to the crutch. Just behind the eye is a disk,
which, when the frog croaks, is blown out into a bladder. Like all
frogs this species is a wonderful jumper. It spends most of its time
in the water, coming to the surface to breath. Its food consists c/1
all kinds of insects.
The little brown frog (Rana japonica) is found in nearly all the
mountain streams of the interior. Its colour also shows considerable
variation, ranging from a light buff to a deep brown, sometimes almost
black. In the darker specimens the under surface of the legs are
often red in colour. This species has broad black bands extending
from the tip of the nose along the sides of the head, encircling the
bright golden eyes.
Besides these two common members of the genus Rana, two others
have been recorded, namely R. reinhardti and R. nigromaculata. The
latter is common in the vicinity of Chin-wang-tao, and is of a brown
and green colour spotted with black.
In the mountain streams of Shantung occurs the fire-bellied frog
(Bombinator igneus), an elegant little creature with the back and
upper parts green, and the belly and under part brilliant orange-red.
The latter are marked with black marblings. It is thus a beautiful
addition to the aquarium. It is small in size, not exceeding, two
inches in length. The skin is very rough, more like that of the toad.
Of the true toads (Buf\o) there are only two species recorded.
These are Radde's toad (Bufo raddei) and the common toad (B.
vvlgaris). The first is a handsomely marked variety, not unlike the
natterjack toad (B. calamita) of Europe. The female is more hand-
somely coloured than the male, being of a light olive-buff colour marbled
with; dark brown. The male is of a light greeny-brown, without marb-
lings. It is very common in North Shensii and even in the Ordos Desert.
During the dry season it burrows deep into the loess or sand, and so
preserves itself from dessication. It spawns in the small rivers, moun-
tain streams and lakes, but otherwise keeps away from water.
The common toad, though found nearly all over the world, is far
less common in North China than the foregoing species. It is of a dull
earth -brown colour, and would be an ugly creature indeed were it aot
FEOGS, TOADS AND SOME FEESH-WATEE FISH. 171
for the wonderful gem-like eye. It is Shakespeare who has said,
the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
referring doubtless to the creature's wonderful eye.
To which, if either, of these species a very large toad that 1 have
frequently come across belongs I do not know. This variety is
remarkable both for its size and the great number and size of the
worts upon its skin.
EADDE'S TOAD (Bujo raddei).
I have never yet come across anything like the newts or salaman-
ders in North China, though some members of this group exist further
youth, notably the giant salamander (Megatobatrachus maximus) of
Central and West China, where it occurs in the mountain streams.
This large and ugly creature was one of the numerous discoveries of
Armand David, and it is very rare. Doubtless the same unfavour-
able climatic conditions that seem to account for the poverty in the
reptilian forms of life, also have an unfavourable effect upon the
Turning from these semi-aquatic denizens of the swamps and
rivers, we come to a much more richly represented group of cold blooded
172 FEOGS, TOADS AND SOME FRESH-WATER FISH.
vertebrates, namely the fishes, though here again, especially in the
interior, the dryness of the climate and the extremes of heat and .?old
have severely handicapped certain forms in the struggle for existence.
North China is very far indeed from being an angler's paradise,
in fact it is doubtful if any Europeans out here go in for 1 angling to any
extent. There is one ardent disciple of Walton, who spends some of
his Saturday afternoons fly fishing on the ponds and canals round the
Tientsin Race Course, and he tells 1 me he often has good sport.
Another gentleman of similar tastes ordered out expensive sets of rods,
FKOGS, TOADS AND SOME FRESH-WATER FISH. 173
tackle, hooks and flies for fishing on the Pao-ting Fu lakes, but when,
some years later he made me a present of his entire outfit, its remark-
ably new appearance told a significant tale.
The reason for this sad state of affairs is not difficult to find, for
not only are the rivers of North China notoriously muddy, and so un-
suitable for angling as a fine art, but so keen is the struggle for liveli-
hood amongst the teaming human population that every lake, canal
and river is dredged and scoured for the fish it contains. A hundred
and one different means of trapping and netting are resorted to by the
natives. Nothing taken, no matter how small, is ever put back to
grow; no variety, however worthless from a European's point of view
is discarded. The wonder is that there are any fish at all, and the
reader will not be surprised to learn that North China is comparatively
poor in the variety of its finny population.
Still there are a few species, which are worth considering, if only
on account of their scarcity. The Mandarin fish (Siniperca chua-tsi),
a species of perch or bass is abundant in the* rivers and lakes of North-
eastern China. I have not come across it in the west. This hand-
some fish seems to take the place out here of the common perch in
England, though, as a matter of fact it more closely resembles the
ruffe (Acesina) in appearance. It has very much the same shape,
the head and nose being somewhat more pointed. A large fin extends
down the back to the tail, being divided into two distinct portions.
The anterior part is made up of twelve very strong sharp
spines joined together by a membrane. The posterior part, which
is really the hinder dorsal fin, is like an ordinary fin. The pelvic
fins also are armed each with a strong, sharp spine, while the anal fin
has three such weapons. The opercular, and preopercular gill plates
are also armed with spines. When freshly cauight the fish sticks out all
these spines, and by its rapid contortions can inflict deep and painful
wounds. There seems to be some sort of poison in the spines, for the
wounds thus sustained will cause the affected limb to swell up and ache
badly. In tire cuisine this fish holds rank above all the other Chinese
The miller's thumb (Coitus <gobio ?) is a small fresh, water fish nearly
related to the gurnards, which, except in the absence of the finger-like
rays of the pectoral fins, it closely resembles. It is an exceedingly
ugly fish, with its heavy toad-like head, short thick body, large fins and
dull brown colour. It- is also known as the bull-head. It is found in
174 FROGS, TOADS AND SOME FRESH-WATER FISH.
the rivers of Chihli and southward, but I have not come across it in the
west. The same species occurs in Northern Asia and Europe, and is
very common in Great Britain.
Another little fresh water fish is the stickleback (Gastrosteus
sinensis) recorded b.y David. I have never seen a specimen, but it is
said to inhabit the waters of Chihli. Sticklebacks are noted for build-
ing nests, in which to lay their eggs, guarding the latter against all
invaders with a spirit and reckless daring one would hardly expect in
so low a form of life. They make splendid additions to the aquarium,
being probably more interesting, because having more character
and more remarkable habits, than any other fish. The males are fierce
fighters and ardent wooers. They tease, it would almost seem for the
mere fun of the thing, the other inmates of the aquarium. In the mat-
ing, season the males, at least in the common three spined species of
British streams, are brightly coloured with crimson and blue.
The serpent-head (Ophioccphalus argus) is a peculiar fish that
occurs in great numbers in all the waters of Chihli. It derives its name
from the marked resemblance of its head to that of a snake. This is
very long in shape, with the eyes set well forward. The markings also
add to the illusion. The body is long, with a fin extending along the
whole length of the back, and another along the ventral surface, from
behind the belly, which is well forward. The tail is rounded. The
whole of the body is marked with bars and blotches of a dark olive-grey
colour upon a lighter ground. The fins and tail are spotted. This fish
can withstand periods of drought, when it burrows into the mud and
apparently becomes torpid. It is also common in the Manchurian
rivers, though it may be looked upon more as a swamp than a river
fish. The flesh is coarse. The Chinese name is Hei-yu (Black fish).
Related to the serpent-head is the beautiful little paradise-fish
(Poly acanthus opercularis), which is supposed to be a cultivated variety
of some hitherto undiscovered wild species. In South-east China
several species inhabit the rivers. The domestic species is of a golden
colour barred with red. It has greatly elongated dorsal and anal fins
and tail. It is very easy to keep, and breeds freely.
The wels (Silurus assotis) belonging to the catfish tribe is very
common in the muddy waters of the North China rivers. It might
well be called the mud-fish, were it, not that the name is already used to
designate certain lung-fishes of South Africa and South America. The
wels has a long, somewhat eel-like body, a large head with an enormous
mouth. The latter has several pairs of long filamentous appendages
FBOGS, TOADS AND SOME FEESH-WATER FISH. 175
growing from the jaws. The dorsal fin is very small, but the anal fin
more than makes up for this by extending from just behind the belly
right along the elongated body up to the tail-fin, to which it is joined.
The eyes, placed on the upper surface of the broad, flat head are very
small. There are no scales, in which particular, also, the fish bears
resemblance to an eel. In colour it is of a dark olive-brown, the lower
176 FROGS, TOADS AND SOME FRESH-WATER FISH.
surface of the head and the belly being white or light yellow. It attains
a length of two or more feet. The flesh, though of a somewhat muddy
flavour, is tender and sweet, and in many places, beingr the only bone-
less variety of any size, is greatly esteemed. The Chinese name is
Another member of the cat-fish family (Pseudobagrus fulvidraco) is
also to be found in these waters. It is much smaller than the wels,
has a shorter body and a large dorsal fin, with a stout barbed spine in
front. It is of a bright greeny yellow colour. The mouth is also
smaller. Otherwise the two species are very similar. Both are easily
caught on a line bated with a worm or piece of meat.
All over the marshes of the flatlands a peculiar species of eel occurs.
It has nothing in the way of fins, and so resembles a snake in appearance.
Even the gills are not easily detected, being small and inconspicuous.
It is of a dark brown colour covered with vermiculated markings of an
even darker shade. It reaches a maximum length of three or four feet,
and is very good eating. It is particularly plentiful in the marshes of
the Wed Valley in Shensi. It is known to science as (Monopterus
Another species of eel (Anguilla pekinensis) also occurs. It is like
the European eel, from which it differs but slightly.
One of the commonest fish of North China is the carp (Cyprinus
carpio), which figures so largely in Chinese and Japanese art, and also
on their menus. It occurs in the waters of all the rivers and lakes. This
fish often attains a large size. It is particularly abundant in the Yellow
River, where it is caught in large numbers in late autumn and kept in
specially reserved tanks. When winter comes on the fish are taken
out, and water poured over them. The water freezes, forming a coat
of ice over the fish, in which condition they are transported to all parts
of the northern provinces, and fetch good prices. The Chinese name
The small carp (Cyprinus canassius] does not reach so great a size
as- the foregoing species, bu't nevertheless attains a weight of two or
three pounds. This is the parent stock of the gold fish, from which the
Chinese and Japanese have bred such finny marvels as the lung-yu
(dragon-fish). The remarkable thing about these highly specialized fish
is the rapidity with which they will revert back to the parent form, when
left to propagate their kind in a natural state. On the other hand,
the wild form, under certain favourable conditions, will develop the
typical golden colour of the common gold fish. The wild form, though
FBOGS, TOADS AND SOME FRESH- WATER FISH. 177
palatable, is of a muddy flavour. The Chinese name is Chi-yu. It is one
of the few species that can exist in stagnant water, and is therefore
frequently introduced into artificial ponds and lakes, where if it be
well fed, it soon assumes a rich bronzy colour.
Besides these two very common species there are a number of
others belonging to the carp family (Cyprinidae), namely, the bream
(Parabramis pekinensis) ', the roacb (Leuciscus curriculus}, two species
of bleak (L. aethiops and L. idellus), the gudgeon (Pseudogobio
rivularis), the culters (Culter recurviceps and C. erythropterus) and their
allies Pseudoculter peltinensis, P. exiguus and Hemiculter leucisculus*,.
The culters are peculiar fish with sharply upturned mouths and protrud-
ing lower jaws.
178 FROGS, TOADS AND SOME FRESH-WATER FISH.
In the mountain streams, occurs a small fish related to the minnow
(Phroxinus sp.). Where there are good permanent streams this species
attains a length of six or seven inches. It is very good eating, when
served up as white-bait, and in some places occurs in great numbers.
Another inhabitant of the mountain streams is the little loach
(Cobitis tinia). There can be no doubt that this fish can survive pro-
tracted periods of drought, when all the mountain streams in which it
lives dry up. How it does this is not known, but it probably buries
itself deep down in the mud or sand and undergoes a process of
suspended animation. Be that as it may, when the rains come, refil-
ling the streams which have been perfectly dry for so long, this little
fish appears almost immediately.
THE LOACH (Cobitis tinia).
Another species is the giant' loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus),
which, however, is found more in the permanent streams, and also
occurs in the large rivers and marshes. This is very much more eel-
like than the smaller species.
Though the pike (Esox) does not occur in Chinese waters, a species
is very common in the streams and rivers of Manchuria, which find
their way into* the sea on the east side of Corea. There it is known t'o
the Chinese as "kou-yu" (dog fish).
Salanx chinensis, A SMALL TRANSPARENT SMELT-LIKE FISH OCCURING
IN THE CHIHLI ESTUARIES.
Elopicthys dauricus, a very large fish not unlike the salmon,
occurs in the Yellow River, and in some of the larger rivers of Chihli,
FROGS, TOADS AND SOME FRESH-WATER FISH. 179
Mongolia and Manchuria. It reaches a weight of 30 Ibs. and upwards,
and a length of over three feet. The flesh is very good, and in the Tien-
tsin markets it is sold as salmon, for which it, makes a good substitute.
A trout (Plecoglossus altivelis) is to be found in the streams of
the Chin-wang-tao and Shan-hai-kuan districts; but such of the local
piscators 1 as have tried the fishing have reported upon it unfavourably.
It is the same species that- occurs in Japan. At least two species
of trout inhabit the rivers of Eastern and Northern Manchuria, but
whether they have been named by scientists I do not know.
Lastly we have the sturgeon (Acipenser mantschniricus) , which
occurs in the Yellow River and sometimes even in the smaller rivers
The sturgeons, with the sharks are interesting as forming a con-
necting link between the fish of the present geological epoch and those
of past ages. They have heterocercal or partially forked tails, which
is a characteristic of very primitive types of fish. There are no fossil
remains of fishes with homocercal or completely forked tails, which is
characteristic of the modern fishes such as all of the foregoing species.
The sturgeon is found also in Manchuria, and in all the rivers of
S ; beria and Russia, whence comes that famous delicacy Caviare, which
is nothing more nor less than the spawn of this fish.
Anderson (Malcolm P.) 56,67,69,
Apodemus 70, 71,
asiaticus 25, 77,
Atwood (Dr. P. H.)
bedfordi 10, 34, 70, 80,
David (P&re Armand)
Canis 51, 55,
67, 68, 69
Holcomb (Captain T.)
Holmeberg (Mr. J.)
McCoy (Mr. K. T.)
Miller (Dr. Gerrit S.)
Nystrom (Professor E.
17, 18, 24
Smith (Dr. J. A. C.)
MAMMAL s . (continued . )
Wallace (Mr. H. F.)
Warrington (Mr. F. W.)
131, 136, 153
do id es
124, 125, 126
88, 102, 138
130, 140, 147, 148, 156
Pringle (Mr. J. J.)
85 re eve 8ii
134, 136, 141, 153 risorius
97, 98 rufa
138, 150, 160
sinensis 91, 131, 136, 139,
REPTILES, BATKACHIANS, FISH,
Cy print dee
165, 172, 174 japonica
170, 171 Leuciscus
sin en sis
165, 166, 170
REPTILES, BATRACHIANS, FISH. (continued,')
Siniperca 172, 173 Tropidonotus 164
tigrinus 164 vulgaris 170
trionyx 166 Zatnenfs 165
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